What is it about Jesus that makes him worthy of your adoration and praise? What is it about Jesus that makes him irresistibly attractive? Why is he alone worthy of your whole-hearted allegiance and love?
Consider one answer from the portrait of Jesus in Revelation 5. In Revelation 5:5 he is called “the Lion of the tribe of Judah,” but in Revelation 5:6 is also portrayed as the “Lamb” who had been slain, though now standing, because alive. So, which is he? Both! Jesus is both Lion and Lamb. And it is in this glorious juxtaposition of what appear to be two contrasting images that we find the answer to our question.
Think about this for a moment:
The Lion in whom we find unimpeachable authority is also the Lamb who embodies humility and meekness in the highest degree.
The Lion who wields power and strength that none can resist is also the Lamb who walked this earth in weakness and suffering, resisting none.
The Lion who rules the world and governs its every move is also the Lamb who was meekly led to slaughter by his enemies.
The Lion who is known for his uncompromising commitment to righteousness is also the Lamb who overflows in love to sinners like you and me.
The Lion whose majestic beauty captivates the human heart is also the Lamb who condescended to take upon himself the likeness of a man and was, in appearance, quite ordinary and unimpressive.
The Lion who commands total obedience from everyone is also the Lamb who in his earthly life submitted himself in obedience to the law of God.
The Lion who is holy and pure beyond our wildest imagination is also the Lamb who is gracious and kind and tender-hearted to all.
The Lion who could silence a raging storm with a single word is also the Lamb who refused to speak or revile against those who nailed him to a cross.
The Lion who is life itself is also the Lamb who willingly dies for his enemies.
The Lion who is exalted high above the heavens, immeasurably beyond all of creation and myriads of angels, before whom the greatest and most powerful kings and commanders on earth are but a speck of dust on the balance, is also the Lamb who stooped low, who condescended to become one of us and suffer the trials and challenges put upon him by weak and sinful men.
The Lion who is in himself infinite holiness and righteousness and purity and power is also the Lamb who welcomes broken sinners into his presence and makes intimate friends of his enemies.
The Lion who in himself needs nothing, being altogether self-sufficient, is also the Lamb who gives and gives and then gives yet again so generously and abundantly.
The Lion who is in himself of such blinding glory and brilliance that adoring angels cover their faces is also the Lamb who humbled himself and identified with his creatures so that they might behold him and enjoy him forever.
The Lion who, as Paul says in Philippians 2, exists from all eternity in perfect equality with the Father and the Spirit, equal in all respects as to his divinity, is also the Lamb who in time and history humbled himself and took on the likeness of sinful men and women.
The Lion who is known for his majesty is also the Lamb who is known for his meekness.
The Lion who commands absolute obedience from his creatures is also the Lamb who in obedience honored every command of his Father.
The Lion who rightly burns with wrath against the rebellious and unbelieving is also the Lamb who in the place of the rebellious and unbelieving endured in his own body and soul that very wrath.
I can do no better in summing up than by quoting the words of John Piper:
“The Lion of Judah conquered because he was willing to act the part of a Lamb. He came into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday like a King on the way to a throne, and he went out of Jerusalem on Good Friday like a Lamb on the way to the slaughter. He drove out the robbers from the Temple like a Lion devouring its prey. And then at the end of the week he gave his majestic neck to the knife, and they slaughtered the Lion of Judah like a Lamb. So he conquered sin and death and Satan not just because he was a Lion, but because he was a Lamb-like Lion. The Lion gets the victory through the tactics of the Lamb” (John Piper).