When I was in college, my friend Jon and I used to roam around campus screaming, “He’s not safe!”
I’m sure it was annoying.
Our yelling was a reference to Jesus. We wanted to remind our fellow Bible College students that following Jesus doesn’t guarantee safety and security, at least by worldly standards.
So we’d climb and hide in tall trees and startle students as they walked to and from class.
“He’s not safe!”
Jon and I and some other friends followed Jesus into downtown Knoxville to minister to homeless people in the middle of the night. We walked under overpasses, through alley-ways, and around dimly lit homeless shelters in search of the “least of these.”
No one ever mugged us or threatened us.
But we knew it could happen.
Regardless, Jesus led us to these dark places — to hurting and desperate people. At the end of the night we smiled and laughed together because we knew that Jesus had shown us a glimpse of the kingdom.
One of our professors said that people really only want two things in life: security and satisfaction. And God doesn’t fault us for wanting these things.
It’s when we try to find security and satisfaction apart from God that we miss the mark.
What do we expect to find when we come to Jesus?
In the book of Revelation, there is a scroll. It’s wrapped up and sealed and it needs to be opened.
But no one in heaven or on earth is worthy enough to open the scroll. John, the writer of Revelation, starts to cry because of all the billions of people on earth and angels in heaven, no one is worthy to open the scroll.
Finally, an elder tells John to stop crying because there is one who is worthy. The Lion of Judah.
Listen to the description of the Lion of Judah:
“…I saw a Lamb standing as though it had been slain…” (Revelation 5:6, ESV)
The lion is a lamb? A bloody, slain lamb?
The elder doesn’t say, “Oh I’m sorry, I misspoke. Behold the Lamb of Judah”
Instead, everyone worships the lamb because he was slain. Because his blood ransomed a people for God.
Of course, the Lamb is Jesus.
And the unsettling truth is that Jesus, the Lamb who was slain, said this to his followers:
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24, ESV)
This is only one of several times Jesus says something like this.
I’m going to be broad here.
In light of the unsettling words of Jesus, do you trust him to be your leader?
Or are you looking for a different kind of leader? One who promises the type of security that spares you from denying yourself and taking up your cross?
My friend Jon and I probably stole our motto from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. In the book, there’s a scene where the Pevensie kids are asking Mr. and Mrs. Beaver about Aslan, the lion who represents Jesus:
“Then he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ’Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
Of course Jesus isn’t safe.
But he’s good.
The question for us is this…
Do we trust that he’s good enough to be our king?