Names of Christ: Who Do You Say That I Am?
Then I saw in the right hand of the one seated on the throne a scroll written on the inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals; and I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it. And I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
Judah, your brothers shall praise you;
your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
your father’s sons shall bow down before you.
Judah is a lion’s whelp;
from the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He crouches down, he stretches out like a lion,
like a lioness—who dares rouse him up?
The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
until tribute comes to him;
and the obedience of the peoples is his.
Binding his foal to the vine
and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine,
he washes his garments in wine
and his robe in the blood of grapes;
his eyes are darker than wine,
and his teeth whiter than milk.
The Lion of Judah is one of those names for Jesus that only appears in one place in the Bible, Revelation. However, it does have ties to Jacob’s blessing of his son Judah in Genesis where Judah is portrayed as a lion’s pup. This confirms that Jesus, as the Lion of Judah, is part of the Davidic lineage and Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecies throughout the Old Testament.
The image of a lion conveys power and dominance. Jesus as the Lion of Judah conveys strength, but in a different way. Jesus has conquered sin and death on our behalf. This was not an act done with force, might, or violence. Jesus suffered and died a humiliating death on the cross, but was still victorious as He rose from the dead and continues to reign in power. Throughout Scriptures, we see the ways that God flips human thinking on its head…”the first shall be last”, “we celebrate Christ crucified”, “God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom”, etc. We see that God’s plan for humanity and for each of us may not always be what we think is correct or what makes sense. God’s love, justice, and power may have a different arc and timeline than we expect. While that uncertainty may be unsettling, it is actually quite a comfort to know that God is in charge; that the Lion of Judah who conquered death, reigns in power for us and loves us. May we respond to that love with the only appropriate response, gratitude.
Lion of Judah, we thank You for conquering death and sin for us. We praise You for sacrificing Yourself so that we might inherit eternal life. Strengthen us today to respond to Your love with gratitude. Empower us to express that gratitude by loving You, one another, and ourselves. In Your name we pray, Amen.