September 3, 2011

Behold the Lamb of God

Posted in Advent, Kingdom, Lent, Sheep, Son of God, Spiritual Warfare at 9:08 am by Teresa Roberts Johnson

Behold the God-man true, who took our place
To ransom Adam’s doomed and broken race.
As one of us, though deity, He trod
On earth that we might ever dwell with God.

Behold the Shepherd-Lamb who gently leads
Unruly sheep and gives each one just what it needs.
Tending His flock, He rescues us from every harm
And brings the wanderers home in His strong arm.

Behold the Servant-King, whose mighty reign
Encompasses this frail world to cure all bane.
His kindly kingdom vanquishes each foe.
Earth touches heaven where His healing waters flow.

Copyright © 2011 by Teresa Roberts Johnson (All rights reserved)

If I heard once in seminary that Christ Jesus was 100% man and 100% God, I heard it a hundred times. In different classes, in different contexts, that truth was shown to be a lynchpin not only to Anglican theology but to all Christian truth. Throughout the Scriptures, the Son of God is shown to be the only bridge between heaven and earth. The first verse in the poem scratches the surface of the atonement, a topic about which much ink has been shed to propose so-called competing theories. I would prefer to spend less time arguing about exactly why Jesus had to die and exactly what His death accomplished from God’s point of view and more time in gratitude that He rescued His people from sin and death. While on earth, Jesus gave His apostles the keys to the kingdom, but the risen and ascended Lord told St. John that He Himself holds the keys to Death and to Hell (Revelation 1:18). His is the victory, and we can share in it.

The second verse draws together those verses that speak of our Lord as the Good Shepherd and the Lamb of God. This theme is a continuation of the God-man theme, but it goes more specifically to the concept of sacrificial love of the Shepherd who risks everything to save His sheep and provide for them. As shepherds, Moses and David were types of Jesus, who is the Shepherd who supplies all our needs (Psalm 23). Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel all delivered God’s promise of a Shepherd who would gather His people.

The third verse turns to the image of our Lord as King of all the earth. The world’s idea of a king is of someone who exploits his people for his own benefit. Not so with Jesus Christ. While He was on earth, the only placard He had to declare His reign was a rudely made sign that hung on the Cross. Through word and deed, He taught the concept of the servant-leader, as He washed His disciples’ feet and warned them about competing for the title of “Greatest.” He who is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9) prefers to vanquish His foes by converting them. The Great Commission was His royal decree to the Church to conquer the world in His name, not by the power of earthly weapons but with the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

Dated 18 February 2008, this is another poem that grew out of the weeks right after I returned to seminary following the death of my son James. As I worked through the pain, I thought a lot about the relationship between Heaven and Earth. People dealing with loss sometimes drown in sentimentalism, so I tried very hard to avoid all of those mawkish notions like “James’ death means that heaven has another angel.” James is no angel. He was a sinner saved by grace, and it was much more comforting to me to know that there is a Saviour, who knows our sorrows but who is also the loving Shepherd and all-powerful King.

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