How to Understand the Dual Nature of Jesus
As Jesus was approaching John the Baptist, John said of Jesus, "Behold, the 'lamb of God' who takes away the sins of the world." But Old Testament prophesies referred to Jesus as "the Lion of the Tribe of Judah." So Jesus is both a lion and a lamb. Some say that Jesus' was as a lamb, but in His "second coming", He will act as a lion. But it seems that Jesus also had some very lion-like qualities when He walked the earth in His first coming. Here are some examples of how Jesus was both a lamb and a lion.
Understand that Jesus was very much like a lamb before and during His crucifixion."The high priest stood up and said to Him, 'Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?' But Jesus kept silent." (Matthew 26). In Jesus' trials, He remained silent for the most part. He let people falsely accuse Him. He let the soldiers beat Him and whip Him. He let people spit on Him. He let them put the crown of thorns on His head and nail spikes in His hands and feet. Isaiah says about Jesus, "He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth." (Isaiah 53:7). Jesus did nor said anything to stop any of it, when He could have called more than 12,000 angels.
- When the men came to "arrest" Jesus for trial, "One of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 'Put your sword back in its place,' Jesus said to him, 'for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and He will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?'" (from Matthew 26). At any point Jesus could have called more than "twelve legions" of angels to save Him, but He didn't. Jesus went to the cross as a lamb, because He loved us so much and wanted to pay the penalty for our sins.
Recognize that when dealing with the Pharisees, Jesus was very lion-like.Matthew 23 is full of a list of "woes" that Jesus said against the Pharisees. He was essentially cursing them. Here was one of the "woes," "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness." Those are some very strong words aren't they?
- It could be asked, "Was Jesus loving His enemies in doing this?" Well that would depend on what your definition of love is. There is mushy love and then there is tough love.
- Jesus was trying to warn the Pharisees that they were lost in sin, even though they were so sure that they were saved. They would not listen to plain reason because their hearts were hardened. Therefore, Jesus took more drastic measures to get their attention, such as cursing them and insulting them. Jesus spoke the truth, and love is about speaking the truth. Jesus wasn't afraid to say it like it was.
Know that when Jesus was looking at the crowds of people, He always looked on them with compassion.Jesus was ironically extremely lion-like when it came to the religious people of His day, the Pharisees, but He was very lamb-like when it came to the common people.
- The Bible says in Mt. 9, "Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd." The people had leaders, the Pharisees, but they were very mean and controlling leaders. Jesus saw that they needed a shepherd, as in someone to care for them and guide them in a loving way.
- Jesus healed two blind men. Scripture says, "They said to Him, 'Lord, we want our eyes to be opened.' Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him." (Matthew 30). With everyone that Jesus healed, He was very lamb-like and He had compassion on them, as in He felt concern for their suffering, disability or illness.
Understand that there are also many accounts where Jesus was a bit feisty.When Jesus' mother asked Him to help at the wedding, where His first miracle was performed, He said to her "Woman, why do you bother me? My time has not yet come." It is interesting that He called her woman instead of mother. Also, He was trying to dismiss her and let her know that He was not ready to openly reveal Himself/His mission and power.
- Also, when Jesus was a child He stayed behind in Jerusalem when His family had gone there. Mary and Joseph were looking for Him "three" days before they found Him. Here is the story found in Luke 2, "After three days they found Him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard Him was amazed at His understanding and His answers. When His parents saw Him, they were astonished. His mother said to Him, “ ‘Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.’ “, but then “ 'Why were you searching for me?' He asked. 'Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?' “ That answer is just classic. He didn't say sorry or anything like that but asked why were they searching for him.
Also see that Jesus was very confrontational and direct with people.Here is what Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well, "You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true." That was matter of fact, and in our modern culture we would say it was a bit rude.
- There is also the classic account of Jesus saying to Peter "get behind me Satan." In Matthew 16 it says, "Jesus began to explain to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. 'Never, Lord!' he said. 'This shall never happen to you!' Jesus turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.' "
- It was quite silly of Peter to try to rebuke Jesus, but it is also a bit shocking that Jesus called Peter, Satan. What Jesus meant was that Satan was in Peter's mind, trying to get Peter to stop Jesus from accomplishing His goal. But that would be pretty intense, to have Jesus call you Satan.
- Realizing more about the nature of Jesus can help you know that you have to tell the truth with love, but you don't have to be only a "nice Christian." We are called to live like Jesus did, so you can be confrontational and direct when needed. This can be very freeing to realize.
- In seeing these deeper aspects of Jesus, maintain respect for Him. Just because Jesus got angry on a few occasions does not mean we should lose respect or think He wasn't self-controlled. The scripture says for us to "Be angry, yet do not sin. Do not let the sun set while you are angry, and do not give the devil a foothold." (Ephesian 4:26, 27) as we must not let anger turn to hate. Anger is like a temptation which is not a sin alone. Of course, He was God walking on earth and was perfect, without sin of any kind.
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