We’re deep in the season of Lent, the time of preparation leading up to Easter, and there was something that struck me about this season this year that I had never considered before. It’s the old phrase, “In like a Lion and out like a Lamb.”
Now, I’m discovering that younger generations don’t seem to know this phrase, perhaps it’s an idiom that’s going out of style. But, although it’s meant to be used for the weather in March, it got me thinking about the Jesus story in Lent instead.
In Lent we read about Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem, and His path to the Cross. This all culminates with Holy Week, a week that begins with Palm Sunday and ends with Easter – the greatest day of the year.
And as I thought about it, Holy Week sure fits the phrase – In like a Lion and out like a Lamb. Palm Sunday is such an odd day, it’s a triumphant parade, a raucous announcement that the King is entering Jerusalem.
It’s a Lion (King) roaring that you can’t keep the voices of the people quiet, even if you tried the rocks and stones would start to sing. To be fair, much of the roaring is coming from the people who don’t quite understand the King Jesus truly is, but it’s there all the same.
Even stranger, this parade is the start of the story, not the end. The end begins with the Lamb, Jesus, going to the Cross on Good Friday for the sins of the world. The King now goes humbly as a sacrifice for the people. It’s a remarkable turn of events, and one unanticipated by the crowds on Palm Sunday. In like a Lion, but out like a Lamb.
However, the story doesn’t end there. Because Good Friday isn’t the end of the story either. No again that end comes on Easter when we have the Lion and the Lamb together on that wonderful morning.
We have a sacrifice and a King, risen from the grave and proclaiming Good News that life has come – new life has been re-born.
Death has been defeated by this Lion and Lamb together. For me, at least, this old phrase came to life in a new way and pointed me this March towards Easter and the joy it brings in a unique and surprising way.
I hope this year you also see and experience the Lion and Lamb in your life as well.