The Birth of a King
Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head…”
For many, this image of baby Jesus is burned into their minds each time they think of our Saviour. Others liken Jesus to a gentle lamb-delicate and docile. But how accurate are these representations of our Lord and Saviour?
JESUS: THE LAMB OF GOD
Jesus is called the Lamb of God in John 1:29 and John 1:36.
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)
And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, ‘Behold the Lamb of God!’” (John 1:36)
Jesus was born with the distinct purpose of being the Saviour of mankind. When sin entered the world, so did the necessity for the atonement of sin. As we know from Hebrews 9:22, the shedding of blood is required for the atonement of sin. Under the Old Covenant, unblemished lambs were often used as an atoning sacrifice to cover the sins of Israel. However, the blood of animals was not enough to wipe clean the exhaustive sins of mankind (Hebrews 9:12-14). Therefore, Jesus shed His divinity and came to the Earth to shed His blood as the Lamb of God-the ultimate and perfect atoning sacrifice for the sins of mankind.
…He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth.” (Acts 8:32)
When a lamb is brought to slaughter it is docile, and quiet. The lamb remains calm because it doesn’t know it is about to be slain. Like the lamb, Jesus remained calm and silent as He was led to slaughter. Thus, for some, Jesus’ silent humility portrays a Saviour who was weak as a lamb-feeble and docile in the face of His accusers. However, His actions were anything but those of a “weak and docile” person. Unlike a lamb, Jesus knew His fate, and boldly sacrificed Himself to die for the sins of mankind. In fact, His short life on Earth exemplifies both humility and boldness.
JESUS: THE CONQUERING LION
In addition to Jesus’ silent humility, His love and compassion towards those publically accused of sinning, adds to the misrepresentation of Jesus as a weak Lamb.
When the Pharisees brought the woman who had been caught in adultery to Jesus, rather than condemn her to stoning, He had mercy on her (John 8:3-11). His compassion expressed here was matched with courage as He stood up to the Pharisees declaring:
‘You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do… there is no truth in him… for he is a liar and the father of it. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.’” (John 8:44-47)
These are certainly not the words of a weak and docile Saviour!
Other examples of Jesus’ boldness include:
Jesus overthrewing the tables of money changers in the temple:
…It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” (Matthew 21:12-13)
Jesus healing on the Sabbath:
‘Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound-think of it-for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?’ And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame…” (Luke 13:15-17)
Jesus’ many scathing condemnations of the Pharisees:
…Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness…” (Luke 11:39-44)
“…Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!… Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?…” (Matthew 23:13-36, Read: Is There an Eternal Hellfire? for more information about the condemnation of Hell)
‘…You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.” (Luke 16:15)
Indeed, Christ’s patience and mercy is matched with His powerful boldness! When Jesus shed His blood He fulfilled the first stage of His mission for mankind by becoming the ultimate atoning sacrifice for our sins. In stage two, when Jesus returns to the Earth He will not come as a gentle babe, or as a docile lamb. Praise God, for the Lamb who was slain will gallantly return as a Conquering Lion to establish His Kingdom on the Earth! (Revelations 5:1-10).