In like a lion…
…out like a lamb
March has traditionally been described this way as the month starts off wintry and ends with spring.
Okay I know, as I write this on March 20th (the first day of spring), we are expecting ANOTHER winter storm filled with ice and snow. Bear with me for a moment as this is not about March or the weather. It’s about Jesus.
We began March with the gospel story of Jesus overturning the tables in the temple. The lectionary text was John 2:13-25 where Jesus “made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.” Pretty lion like, isn’t it?
But look at how March will end. Friday March 30th is Good Friday and the gospel text comes from John chapters 18 and 19 where Jesus, the Sacrificial Lamb, is crucified. The gospel story ends “At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. Because it was the Jewish day of Preparation and since the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.” Out like a lamb.
I’ve thought about this over the past few weeks as I’ve focused a lot on the authority of Jesus in my sermons. His surprising actions in the temple often shock people (and certainly changes that phrase “what would Jesus do?). But then again, for the people of Jesus’ day, his actions were certainly shocking. I’m sure some loved his actions in the temple as it signaled Jesus’ change from “nice guy preacher” to Messianic Warrior about to overthrow the Roman occupation.
But that isn’t what Jesus did. During that last week of his life, Jesus entered into Jerusalem as a King, cleansed the temple as a Prophet, wept over the city as a loving friend, washed his disciples’ feet as a servant, reimagined the Passover as a mystic and sacrificed his life for ours, as a savior.
In like a lion and out like a lamb. And the world will never be the same.