We’ve been looking at the names of God and how his names help us understand him better. This week I want to look at the name, ‘The Lion of Judah’.
The Apostle John recounts many things that the Lord showed him in a vision. One of those visions is given in Revelation 5: ‘Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth’ (Revelation 5:1-10). Isaiah the prophet
Who is this Lion of the tribe of Judah who is able to open the scroll? It is the Lord Jesus.
But why is the Son of God called the Lion of Judah? Firstly, Jesus is a descendant from the tribe of Judah, which is the tribe from which the Kings of Israel were to come (Genesis 49:10). Thus calling him the Lion of ‘Judah’ is a hint at the Lord’s origin and kingship.
Secondly, Jesus is called a lion as another way of describing the power of the Son of God. The lion has a reputation for his strength. And here in Revelation we see the strength of Jesus in being able to open the scroll that no one else could, meaning Jesus is in control of all events on earth.
But how has Jesus triumphed as the Lion of Judah? John tells us that it is, paradoxically, by dying as the Lamb of God. Jesus died the death that his people deserve and so Jesus is able to show mercy and grace to his people and condemn those who reject his offer of salvation.
So it is not surprising that the living creatures and elders fall down before The Lion of Judah, who is also The Lamb of God, and give him honour. How about you? Have you trusted in Christ’s sacrificial work for your sins? Is Jesus your Lion of Judah? Or are you fighting against him only to be subdued one day at his feet? Won’t you pray: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth’.