Animal Cracker Jesus
Your Own Personal Jesus
We love Jesus. We happily sing about Him being the Lion. That thrills us; makes us feel spiritual, giving us a sense of power.
Lions are intimidating. Wise is the person who treats a lion with respectful fear. But as we approach Jesus Christ, we feel and demonstrate no awe, no fear of Him. Our Jesus is sweet and manageable and He tastes good. We pick Him up and we put Him down as we want. Whenever we want, we turn to the lion and use Him to spice up our life; for He is a performing lion who gives us what we want.
We, the sheep, who have gone astray, who are impotent, dirty, and defiled, have somehow gained control over the lion. But this lion is not the Lion of the Tribe of Judah – though we have been deceived into thinking it is. Sadly, if we are honest, churches around the world worship this lion.
So what is my point?
Today, Jesus has become nothing more than an animal cracker lion. Animal crackers are sweet bits of fun used to placate, bribe, manipulate, appease, and get a child to do what we want.
But is that what Jesus is all about? If we use Jesus to make us happy, expect Him to jump through hoops to placate us and even appease unreasonable hungers, then it seems we have prostituted Him, diminished Him, trivialized Him to make ourselves feel good.
The Jesus lion we love is a god we have crafted in our own image to do our will and to make us feel good about our emptiness.
The problem is we have lost sight of the One who is THE Lion, the one C. S. Lewis knew and with great respect wrote about.
Let me share one of my favorite parts of the Narnia series.
‘Who is Aslan?’ asked Susan.
‘Aslan? Said Mr. Beaver. ‘Why, don’t you know? He’s the King. …’
‘Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When He bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.’
Mr. Beaver explained about Aslan, the Lion.
‘Ooh!’ said Susan, ‘I’d thought he was a man. Is he – quite safe?’
Mrs. Beaver assures Susan she shall meet Aslan but she will be afraid.
‘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.’
So how is that relevant for you? A Jesus who is safe is not relevant when life gets difficult or when you need help. An animal cracker cannot nourish you. Such a lion is not the Bread of Life who was broken to nurture you. That lion is only a shadow, a parody of the Living Lord Jesus Christ who is the Lion of Judah.
The enemy of our soul is happy for us to sing about, worship, and devote our life in service to a Jesus we have designed. A Jesus who fits us like designer jeans. A Jesus who we sing fervently about wanting; a Jesus we are able to use and control. A Jesus who never takes us into Gethsemane, let alone to the foot of the Cross. Such a Jesus may be likeable but that is not THE Jesus of Scripture.
Let us be very careful lest the Jesus we adore is a made up Jesus, an idol we have shaped in our own image. If he is a phantom of our imagination, a sweet animal cracker that makes us happy and magically does what we want, He cannot be the Jesus Christ of history – the only Begotten of the Father, who is full of grace and truth.
This Jesus is the Lion because He died to defeat evil. Today, He calls you and I to bow our head in humility before the Heavenly Father and choose to walk in commitment love, relinquishing all control, as we share His yoke.
Amazing, isn’t it? The Jesus of Scriptures is not safe, but as the Lion of Judah, Lord of lords, and King of all kings, He is good! Let us bow in humility before Him.
C. S. Lewis. The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe. P 74-75. Puffin Books. 1973.