A Lion and a Lamb. A Savior who is defeated. Life from Death. Justice tempered by mercy. Majesty and meekness. Exaltation and humility. Love revealed in the middle of hatred and fear.
We begin to see opposites converging in the person of Jesus. “The glory of Christ is not a simple thing.” It’s a coming together of many differing things – some of them seemingly contradictory. But at the very heart of this faith that we claim is paradox. What Jonathon Edwards called over 250 years ago “an admirable conjunction of diverse excellences.” What has more recently been called a “beautiful collision.”
Call it whatever you want. Bottom line = our faith is filled with these paradoxes that we are never meant to resolve. Perhaps the biggest of them if embodied in Jesus himself. Human or Divine? Conqueror or Sacrifice? Lion or Lamb?
Jesus isn’t who he is in spite of these paradoxes. He is Savior, he is glorious because of them. He is the Lion of Judah because he was the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world.
I’m afraid that too often we take the tension out of paradoxes we were never meant to. We err on the side of the Lion and neglect the gentleness of the Lamb. We rest in the consolation of the Lamb and grow uncomfortable around the Lion.
And we end up with a Jesus that’s lopsided. Neither completely Lion nor Lamb and certainly not fully both.