The Lamb before the Lion

Most of you will be familiar with the old adage that “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.”  It is common coinage to note that the beginning of March is naturally cold and windy, laced with at least the threat of storminess, while its end bears witness to the dawn of spring, replete with April showers that are a necessary prelude to May flowers.  I suggest to you that, at least for this year, we are experiencing a reversal of the established order.


It is anticipated to be 73 degrees on this day in February as I draft these thoughts; who would believe?  It is a day during which we mourn the loss of famed evangelist Billy Graham, who has passed at 99.  He was a lion of the pulpit, preaching the Gospel over the course of more than 50 years, but endured debilitating health issues in recent times, ending his life on this side of the grave as a lamb to be sheared and slaughtered by the ravages of illness. 


Our loss is heaven’s gain. My beautiful mother tells me of when he preached at Boston Garden in 1950, with the departing crowds filling the subway cars and singing Gospel hymns en route home.  He was instrumental in my Christian walk as an adolescent, and I had the privilege of investing heavily in his evangelistic crusade of 1992 in Philadelphia.  I can attest to the integrity of his ministry and the commitment of his team to the spiritual welfare of God’s people and the salvation of the lost.  He was a light for Jesus amidst a recent rash of homiletical hucksters.


March begins on an obscure yet profound note.  March 1 is St. David’s Day.  St. David is the patron saint of Wales.  Few have heard of him, and fewer still are aware of his day.  Those of us who are Welsh are vitally aware, as we are of the fact that our Irish kin have the better public relations consultants, as St. Patrick’s Day on March 17 accrues all of the fuss.  They get the marching bands, the public revelries and the gala events.  Perhaps it is not without reason that the Welsh like lamb, as our more lion-like cousins whoop it up on their day … Still; let it not be forgotten that Patrick was a Welshman!  Didn’t the prophet say something to the effect that the lion will lie down with the lamb? … Just thinking!


My lovely daughter was born on St. Patrick’s Day.  She is a precious lamb, who sometimes acts like a robust lion, though often feels like that lamb who has been led to the slaughter; thankfully, God has blessed her with a lovely lamb by the name of Amber who, I strongly suspect, understands all-too-well the duality of lion and lamb in one!


And our newly-minted month culminates in a historically-transformative manner with Holy Week.  The life of Jesus – His atoning death for our sins while hanging on the Cross and His physical Resurrection from the dead a few days later – will only be rivaled by His glorious Return to this planet on the Last Day.  Lives have been changed, entire cultures have been transformed and the whole world will one day be redeemed because of our blessed Savior who loves us beyond what is fathomable but not what may be experienced.


He has been called the Lion of Judah in the Bible.  He was led to the slaughter like a gentle and innocent lamb, but His Return will be in power and in glory, alongside of His heavenly angels – It will be glorious, but it won’t be pretty, as evil men and women will be quivering with fear and seeking to hide in terror.  He came first as a lamb but will come back as a lion – and this Lion will restore justice and righteousness and peace to our frighteningly fallen world.  Lambs will no more have anything to fear, and lions will no longer lay waste to innocent prey.  The love of God will finally prevail.


It’s a year; anyhow, of overturning the established norms – isn’t it?  The Eagles beat the Patriots; how’s that for turning the world upside down?  Congrats; by the way – Enjoy the victory, but also give thought to the fact that the coach, the star quarterback, the backup and MVP quarterback and other key players on the team are devoted followers of Jesus Christ and who gave all glory to God on the night of their victory.  A lion named Tom Brady was slain in the field on that extraordinary evening in Minneapolis, by a group of lambs who follow The Lion – Food for thought; eh!


Bradley E. Lacey

Pastor, First Baptist Church at Conshohocken

March 1, 2018