Sunday, October 09, 2016

Not A Tame Lion

“Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”
(Psalm 2:11-12)

“ ‘Safe?’ said Mr Beaver; ‘don’t you hear what Mrs Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ’Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.’ ”
— C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

It’s an odd combination, isn’t it: rejoicing and trembling at the presence of the Son of God. The quote from the Psalms is directed to “kings” and “rulers of the earth” and looks forward to the millennial reign of Christ on earth.

Kiss the Son

Nobody kissed the Son the first time around, did they? Oh, wait, that’s not quite true:
“… a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.”
He was kissed by a sinner, by someone who, in her small way, glimpsed his essential moral, and perhaps even eternal, glory.

Later he was kissed by his betrayer.

But by rulers, kings and many, many others, he was “despised and rejected”, Isaiah says, and he adds, “We esteemed him not”.

No one served the Lord with fear the first time round.

Kinder, Gentler

It is a significant error in understanding to make distinctions between the God of the Old Testament and the Christ of the gospels, yet people still do it, as if God suffers from schizophrenia or in a few thousand years of dealing with humanity has discovered a ‘kinder, gentler’ side to his personality.

Not so. God is not a man that he should change his mind. It has been well said that the Jehovah of the Old Testament is the Jesus of the New.

It is at the glory of the reigning Jesus of Nazareth that kings and rulers are commanded to rejoice with trembling, the same one John writes about in Revelation saying, “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead”. God has “highly exalted him and granted him a name, that which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of heavenly and earthly and infernal beings, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to God the Father’s glory”.

All This and More

Christianity is a worldview. It is a better understanding of the cosmos. It is the most logical explanation for the indisputable phenomena of evil and human conscience, and a more comforting view of human suffering and death than that offered by the speculative theories of so-called science. It is a moral code, an ancient book of inadequately-tapped wisdom, an unparalleled insight into human history.

It is all those things and more. But primarily it is a miraculous, transformative relationship with One who, rightly esteemed, would make us both rejoice and tremble. One who is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, who will rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.

And he is not a tame lion.

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