by Christopher Harbin

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Expecting a Lion (27 of 52)
Series: Discipleship Part Two
Christopher B. Harbin
Revelation 5:1-10

We are enamored of force, strength, and violent displays of power. Our heroes are those who wield power and put down their enemies efficiently and directly. We look for strongmen, we look for the powerful, we look for the wealthy, we look for people of influence, attaching our carts to them. We want to hang ride their coattails and bask in the glow of their presence and attention. This is our desire and ambition as a nation. It is also part of identity as believers. It is a deeply ingrained part of what we bring to the gospel, a lens by which we seek to read and interpret Jesus and the rest of Scripture.

On the surface, we counter that this is not who Jesus is, but in the recesses of our being, it is who we hope and expect Jesus to become. We watch Jesus walking the long, hard road to the cross, waiting with bated breath for the moment Jesus flips the tables on those who sought his crucifixion. We keep hoping to see Jesus executing harsh judgment and violence upon those who opposed his message. Even so, the gospel never takes that turn. We hope for it, nonetheless.

Whenever I teach from John's Revelation, I talk about Wiley the Coyote and Roadrunner. It's not that it is my favorite cartoon, as some have suggested. It is simply that the cartoon tells the same simple story over and over and over again. It is framed in a myriad of ways, but the story is always the same. Wiley plots to get Roadrunner, but he is never successful. His plans always blow up in his face. Roadrunner is always safe, no matter what Wiley may attempt.

On one level, that is the theme of Revelation. It is a cycle of frames telling the very same story in multiple ways. The theme is always the same. True victory awaits those who are faithful to Christ. The part we don't want to hear, however, is that this victory is accomplished not through a battle vanquishing those who oppose God. I ...

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