Monday, April 16, 2007
The Lion and the Lamb
Last sunday morning I preached on Revelation 5. I set out trying to explain and exposit the meaning of vv. 5-6 "Behold, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah ... I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain".
During my sermon I said: "Behold the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, with the head of a Lion, the body of a Lamb, and the head of Lamb" [those who know their American sitcoms will recognize the Simpson's intertexture, an area of textual discourse as yet uncharted by V.K. Robbins and friends]. My own thinking is that the function of such imagery is rhetorically apologetic and simultaneously ironic. That is, John the Seer argues that the Lion of the Tribe of Judah/Root of David (i.e. the Messiah) is also the Lamb who was slain (i.e. the crucified Jesus). In other words, the crucified Jesus is Israel's Messiah! The messiahship of Jesus (as a crucified messiah) was a point of contention in Jewish - Christian relations and I would be prepared to argue that Mark's Gospel in particular is an apology for the cross (see also Robert H. Gundry, Craig A. Evans and S.G.F. Brandon). I think Rev. 5.5-6 is advocating a similar picture here.