In his heavenly vision, John hears the elder announce the entry of "the Lion of the tribe of Judah" (Rv 5:5), Who has triumphed. When John looks for the Lion, he instead sees "a Lamb standing, a Lamb That had been slain" (Rv 5:6).
Jesus has the strength of a Lion; He "roars from on high" (Jer 25:30; see also Am 3:8; Hos 11:10). Yet His strength is also the strength of love, displayed by the meekness of the Lamb. The Lamb is a sacrificial Victim, Who was slain, and He triumphs through His outpoured blood more than through His roaring.
The chosen people expected the Messiah to be a "lion-king" (see Gn 49:9-10). This lion-Messiah would be a warrior, preying on his enemies and subduing them (Gn 49:9). Yet even prophetic revelation couldn't prepare the Israelites to understand a Messiah Who was "like a lamb led to the slaughter" (Is 53:7).
Isaiah prophesied that the lion and the lamb would be linked together (Is 11:6-7). In the person of Jesus, the Lion and the Lamb, awesome power and sacrificial love are united. In Jesus, the Lion and the King, there is the union of invincible strength and royal dignity.
In three days, we celebrate the great feast of Christ the King. As we worship our King, keep in mind the heavenly vision of the Lion of Judah (Rv 5:5), Who is both the King of kings and the Lamb of God. "To Him be glory forever" (Rm 11:36).