Dear Church family,
Many times I have been asked, “Do you worry about hell?” Or, put another way, people ask me, “Are you afraid of God’s judgment?” It would be the height of ego to claim to fully know the will of God but, I must share with you what I share when asked this question:
No, I do not fear God’s judgment.
And the reason why is because, while Jesus is a Lion, ferocious and terrible; he is first a Lamb.
This is what he tells his disciples tonight, in the Last Supper meal we celebrate on Maundy Thursday. He picks up a cup from their Passover table and he tells them, “This is the new covenant. It is sealed with my blood.” Remember the first covenant? It is the one they were celebrating at that dinner: the covenant that God made with the Israelite slaves when the Angel of Death passed them over and they were freed from slavery. That first covenant was sealed in the blood of lambs. The covenant Jesus makes is sealed in his blood. First, he is the Lamb.
And it is what he tells us in his death that we celebrate tomorrow on Good Friday. Scripture tells us that he was hung on the cross at noon which means he was pierced at exactly the same time the Passover Lamb was sacrificed on the altar in the Temple just down the road. Before he was the Lion, Jesus was the Lamb.
Lastly, in one of the most frightening and confusing books of scripture, the book of Revelation, the lead-up to the end of the world brings about terrible weeping because no one is worthy to start its process and then we read this:
“Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Don’t weep. Look! The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has emerged victorious so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.’ Then, in between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a Lamb, standing as if it had been slain.” (Revelation 5:5)
Did you catch that? At the end of time, the people will be looking for the Lion and, instead they will get the Lamb. Not only that, the Lamb they get will be slain. We read about that terrifying image in chapter 19 of the book: “His eyes were like a fiery flame, and on his head were many royal crowns…He wore a robe covered with blood” (19:12-13). But it is not our blood. He is the slain Lamb. The blood is his own.
So, no, I do not fear God’s judgment. Not because I am worthy but because the Lion is also the Lamb. Whatever God’s judgment will be, I trust the Judge.
As we follow our Judge to the cross and the tomb and the throne, may we continue to put our trust in him.
May Christ’s peace be yours today,