“Look! The Lion That Is of the Tribe of Judah”
1-3. What danger comes upon Jesus, and how does he react?
A MOB is coming after Jesus. Armed with swords and clubs and with soldiers among them, the men form a large crowd. As if guided by a single malevolent will, they move through the darkened streets of Jerusalem and across the Kidron Valley to the Mount of Olives. The moon is full, yet they carry torches and lamps. Do they light their way because clouds block the moonlight? Or do they expect their quarry to be hiding in the shadows? One thing is certain: Anyone who expects Jesus to cower knows little of the man.
2 Jesus is aware of the danger that approaches. Nonetheless, he stands and waits. The mob nears, led by Judas, once a trusted friend. Judas brazenly betrays Jesus, singling out his former master with a hypocritical greeting and a kiss. Still, Jesus keeps his composure. Then he steps out before the mob. “Whom are you looking for?” he asks. “Jesus the Nazarene,” they reply.
3 Most people would quail in terror before such an armed mob. Perhaps that is what this crowd expects of the man before them. But Jesus does not cower, does not flee, does not blurt out some lie. Instead, he simply says: “I am he.” His manner is so calm, so brave, that the men are astounded. They stagger backward and fall down!—John 18:1-6; Matthew 26:45-50; Mark 14:41-46.
4-6. (a) God’s Son is likened to what, and why? (b) What are three ways in which Jesus displayed courage?
4 How could Jesus face such extreme danger with complete composure and self-restraint? The answer, in a word, is courage. Few qualities are so admired or so needed in a leader, and no man has ever equaled, much less excelled, Jesus in this regard. In the preceding chapter, we learned how humble and meek Jesus was. He was rightly called “the Lamb.” (John 1:29) Jesus’ courage, however, gives rise to a very different description. The Bible says of God’s Son: “Look! The Lion that is of the tribe of Judah.”—Revelation 5:5.
5 The lion is often linked to courage. Have you ever stood face-to-face with an adult male lion? If you have, most likely you were safely separated from the beast, perhaps by the fence of his enclosure at a zoo. Still, such an experience can be daunting. As you look into the face of this huge and powerful creature and he gazes steadily back at you, you can hardly imagine the lion ever fleeing in fear from anything. The Bible speaks of “the lion, which is the mightiest among the beasts and which does not turn back from before anyone.” (Proverbs 30:30) Such is the courage of Christ.
6 Let us discuss how Jesus displayed lionlike courage in three ways: in standing up for the truth, in upholding justice, and in facing opposition. We will see, too, that all of us—whether naturally brave or not—can imitate Jesus in showing courage.