The Lion of Judah
WE don't usually think of the gentle Jesus as a ``lion.'' After all, he taught that meekness, love, forgiveness, and humility characterize the man created by God. But that's how the book of Revelation in the Bible describes the Messiah: as ``the Lion of the tribe of Juda'' (5:5). When you think about Christ Jesus this way, you see that his meekness was not in any way weakness. And his healing work shows how well he understood the power of the great love God holds for man. Above all, Jesus showed that the unfailing moral strength given to man by God, his Maker, provides the foundation for such spiritual healing in the life of each of us.
The Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, describes the nature of our God-given moral courage in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She writes: ``Moral courage is `the lion of the tribe of Juda,' the king of the mental realm. Free and fearless it roams in the forest. Undisturbed it lies in the open field, or rests in `green pastures, . . . beside the still waters' '' (p. 514).
Jesus embodied this moral strength better than anyone else. The spirit of Truth and Love that we so closely identify with him is Christ. Christ exemplifies moral strength.
Moral strength originates in God. God is Spirit, and Spirit is the Maker of man--of you and me. Man is the child of Spirit. He is not biological or material, but spiritual. God's standard in making man never slips. Because God is perfect and whole and His creation is like Him, man is perfect and complete.
In the Bible, we can find the complete standard of morality that God provides. The Ten Commandments, found in Exodus, embody it. And Christ Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, found in Matthew's Gospel, shows us the blessings that obedience to God's law brings. While it takes courage to live this way, the important thing is that we make the effort needed. God's moral law is not an arbitrary set of rules for us to obey, however. It's a practical way of showing us what we need to do, how we need to live, to be the man made in His image.
Don't be fooled! Our moral standard does matter. It may seem as if families and communities, organizations, businesses, and governmental bodies can function by convenience and strictly material arrangements. But such is not the case! It is really God who is the center of existence, and man (not an organization or arrangement) is the focus of what God does.
So, to see how our families and businesses are doing, we must know how we are doing as individuals. How well are we holding to the solid moral standard the Bible shows us? Just one individual, lovingly upholding a standard of right when few others believe it essential, can be of the greatest importance to our families and businesses. But most of all, our moral standard matters to us as individuals. The moral demand on us binds us to God's goodness and love. It is the way to keep our footing, regardless of how slippery things around us in the world get.
Though we do have to make the effort to embrace morality in all our activities, we do have this lion of God-given courage and strength at our side. Christ is always with us. Mrs. Eddy describes Christ in Science and Health: ``Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness'' (p. 332). Christ shows us the right stand to take with regard to morality and how to take that stand. And Christ shows us that we do include the God-given strength to act for good.
No detail of our affairs is too small to matter. And God is calling us to do rightly in our lives and rousing within us the desire to be good, to do rightly. We can respond courageously to that call.
Hear, O Israel:
The Lord our God is one Lord:
and thou shalt love
the Lord thy God
with all thine heart,
and with all thy soul,
and with all thy might.
Deuteronomy 6:4, 5