Lamb, Lion, and Shepherd
- February 27, 2020
- Jessica Fields
If you want to pull core truths from Scripture, write children’s ministry curriculum.
I don’t think I’m the first person to find the book of Revelation intimidating, and thus I was reasonably worried about writing weeks of lessons for my preschool and early elementary schoolers. Turns out, Revelation, like every other part of Scripture, has heaps to teach us about who Jesus is and what He has done.
This past Sunday we finished up Revelation 7, and as a group, we reminded ourselves of three beautiful Scriptural representations of our Savior: Jesus is the Lamb. Jesus is the Lion. Jesus is our Good Shepherd.
It’s the Gospel, crystal-clearly on display.
We begin alongside John in chapter five, waiting for the one who is worthy:
“I cried and cried because there was no one who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. But one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not cry! The Lion from the tribe of Judah has won the victory. He is David’s descendant. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.’” (Revelation 5:4-5, ICB)
Who is worthy? Jesus, the lion, the conqueror, the prophesied King descended from David. We begin our Gospel outline seeing Jesus, the Messiah, just as He was promised to come, majestic and victorious.
But we don’t stop here. John looks to the center of the throne, and we are met with our next representation of Christ: the sacrificial Lamb.
“And they all sang a new song to the Lamb:
‘You are worthy to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
because you were killed;
and with the blood of your death you bought men for God
from every tribe, language, people, and nation.’” (Revelation 5:9)
This picture of Jesus is likewise a symbol of victory.
Who is worthy? Jesus, the lamb, who “himself was like God in everything. He was equal with God. But he did not think that being equal with God was something to be held on to. He gave up his place with God and made himself nothing. He was born as a man and became like a servant. And when he was living as a man, he humbled himself and was fully obedient to God. He obeyed even when that caused his death—death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8, ICB)
And here John adds the next layer onto the Gospel. Jesus, who has always existed and always reigned, humbled Himself, becoming a man and bearing the weight of our sins on the cross. A mighty Lion and a sacrificial Lamb.
John continues to watch as Jesus opens the scrolls, revealing God’s judgement for a fallen world. As a class we briefly walked through each of the scrolls, noting that God’s wrath and judgement involved hunger, death, pain, and sadness. The weight of our sin, and the punishment it warrants, is so very, very heavy.
But what great joy and hope we find in chapter 7, where we meet our good Shepherd!
John sees a great multitude of people standing around the throne, worshipping our Savior. This is how they are described to him:
“These are the people who have come out of the great suffering. They have washed their robes with the blood of the Lamb. Now they are clean and white. 15 And they are before the throne of God. They worship God day and night in his temple. And the One who sits on the throne will protect them. 16 Those people will never be hungry again. They will never be thirsty again. The sun will not hurt them. No heat will burn them. 17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd. He will lead them to springs of water that give life. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
This illustration rounds out the hope we have in the Gospel. Our Lion of a King, who came to earth as a sacrificial Lamb, rose victoriously, conquering sin and death. He is our good Shepherd, who is returning for His people, His lambs.
Lambs will never be shepherds, but they follow in the shepherd’s path, trusting in the shepherd’s goodness and wisdom to lead them home. We, likewise, will never be sinless in our own right, but we walk in the light of our good Shepherd, who leads us home, into everlasting life in His presence.
Amidst some wild and confusing imagery, we see the Gospel on display.
Jesus is the Lamb. Jesus is the Lion. Jesus is our Good Shepherd.
And in these moments, as I watch my first graders wrap their heads around this simple but profound truth, I am thankful that God calls us to a child-like faith. I am thankful that He reveals Himself in Scripture, and I am thankful that He repeats the same story to us again and again and again.
A mighty King, who laid down His life for the ones He loved, is coming back again.
Good news of great joy indeed!