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hope for churches in stress

Lion King

An endearing scene in the animated Disney movie, Lion King, is the formal presentation of Simba, the newborn son of King Mufasa and Queen Sarabi. At Pride Rock, the king’s advisor, Rafiki, holds the cub high (to the pulsing, rhythmic music of the Disney soundtrack).

Imagine what might have happened if Joseph and Mary had taken Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem, seven days after he was born, held him up and shouted, “Here is your king!” Most likely, King Herod would have murdered all three within the week.

The usual ways for a king to present himself were not feasible for the Jesus. As an alternative to announcing his identity, Jesus naturally and intentionally began to speak and act like the Messiah.

He taught in the synagogues and hillsides. People were amazed because he taught as one who had authority (Mark 1:21-22).

He healed the sick and cast out demons. The crowds were amazed, exclaiming, “We have never seen anything like this!” (Mark 2:12).

When a furious squall broke over the Sea of Galilee, Jesus asserted his authority over nature, calming the sea. The disciples were terrified and asked, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!” (Mark 4:41).

Even more astonishing, Jesus raised the dead. As we might expect, onlookers were overcome with amazement (Mark 5:42).

Most staggering of all, Jesus forgave sin. The religious leaders reacted, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” (Mark 2:11-12).

Encounter by encounter, Jesus displayed the power and authority of the Lord God. Finally, Peter got it. It dawned on him that Jesus was demonstrating the power and authority of God and he declared, “You are the Messiah!” (Mark 8:29).

The aim of the gospel writers is to bring all of us to a breakthrough moment when we recognize Jesus as God's only chosen King—the Lion King, so to speak, of the kingdom of God—and entrust our life and destiny to him as our Savior and Lord.

Then, like Rafiki held up Simba, we can hold Jesus Christ high—earnestly, confidently, and boldly declaring: This is the King who is worthy of your trust and who will change your life forever!

This post is inspired by the second session of Christianity Explored, a course on the “basics” of the gospel originally developed under the ministry of John Stott at All Souls Church in London, England.


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