A few days ago I was sitting in the hall at Burton Morewood School watching the school’s superb performance of The Lion King Junior. Well done and thank you!
I don’t know how long people have been thinking of lions as kings but it was already a familiar idea a few thousand years ago when Jacob and his twelve sons were around. Before he died he spoke to his son Judah telling him that he was like a fierce lion and prophesying about a future great king from his tribe: “the sceptre will not depart from Judah … until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his”. The rest of the Old Testament is a long wait for this Lion King to arrive.
Finally there comes a day when dazzling messengers announce, “Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” ‘Christ’ means ‘King’; Jesus is a royal descendant from the tribe of Judah (like his ancestor King David), he is the "Lion of the tribe of Judah", he is the true Lion King, the top of the food chain, the king of the jungle.
As a travelling preacher and condemned ‘criminal’ Jesus didn’t look like a king and yet within 400 years of his death Christianity was the official religion of the Roman Empire. The Barbarians conquered Rome but Christ conquered the Barbarians. And throughout history every attempt to wipe out faith in Christ has, in the end, only increased his rule. Hymns and Carols proclaim that the ‘obedience of the nations’ will be his.
The true Lion King will judge all people but he came first in peace to offer reconciliation. This Lion King is powerful and terrifying but he is also good and compassionate. He is humble and self-sacrificial, wanting your love and devotion even more than your fear. “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”
Quotes from Genesis 49:9-10 Luke 2:11 Revelation 5:5 Luke 2:10