Robin Hood: Becoming a Lion

“Rise and rise again, until lambs become lions.”

robin-hoodRidley Scott’s Robin Hood (2010) follows Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe) as he returns to England from the Crusades with the crown of the late King Richard I (Danny Huston) and the sword of Sir Robert Loxley. Robin is given the latter man’s name and widow (Cate Blanchett) as a reward for his faithfulness. He soon discovers his heritage – “lambs become lions” – while fighting greedy Prince John (Oscar Isaac). In the final scene, Robin is declared an outlaw, moves to the forest, and becomes “Robin of the Hood.”  He resembles a lamb in the beginning of the film, but after fighting injustice he becomes a lion.

This film is set in medieval England, but it has rich meaning for the church today. Sheep are naïve, docile creatures capable of both faithfulness and stupidity. Natural followers, they often get into trouble. Lions, however, embody royalty, boldness, strength, courage, and confidence; they will not turn aside for anyone (Proverbs 30:30).

Jesus Christ, the lion of the tribe of Judah, came to earth as a meek lamb (Isaiah 53:7, Revelation 5:5). He will return as King of Kings, a roaring lion (Proverbs 20:2). We begin our spiritual life as lambs, but God wants to make us lions. “The righteous are bold as a lion” and God needs bold warriors for righteousness (28:1).[1] Christ is our “hope of glory,” so we must stir up the lion inside us (Colossians 1:27). However, many of us are like spiritual lambs – babies in Christ. After our conversion, Christ our great Shepherd nourishes us with the “pure milk of the Word” through reading, preaching, and teaching (1 Peter 2:2). Yet as Paul told the Corinthians and Jews, some of us have not grown up. Although we should eat the strong meat of the Word as lions, we are not ready spiritually; we still need milk (1 Corinthians 3:2, Hebrews 5:12).

I am appalled at the people I meet who say they are Christians and attend church but who do not have the spiritual power to speak up in public. Some Christians have great faith and courage. Others, however, “go with the flow” on core issues like abortion, homosexuality, euthanasia, and eternity. Those who do know what they believe do not share that faith when it is contested in the public sphere. They watch and say nothing, pretending ignorance. These people are asleep.

I am also appalled at the frivolous Christians who think it is play time when sinners are dying, unborn babies are being butchered, and “truth is fallen in the street” (Isaiah 59:14). Their hours are filled with recreation, not evangelism. They rest before they are tired. One Facebook friend has been confined to a wheelchair since a childhood accident. Although I admire her sincere worship, her online activities show that she is content to stay in that wheelchair spiritually; she offers nothing of Christ to lost sinners. This woman is a perfect portrait of many pew-warmers today – physically mobile but spiritually handicapped. They say that they cannot move in the Spirit and are content not to try.

robin-hood prince-johnPrince John’s thugs, the Nottingham sheriff (Matthew McFayden) and Godfrey (Mark Strong), embody the worst group. They use England’s coffers for selfish gain, just as many pastors use the church for money and fame. The sheriff turns a blind eye to injustice; Godfrey is a double agent for France. Like the sheriff, some churchgoers rarely speak out against sin. In order to keep their money and positions of power, they remain silent and let injustice prevail. Others are like Godfrey, wolves in sheep’s clothing (Ezekiel 22:27, Matthew 7:15, Acts 20:29).

If we want to see the church rise up as Christ’s army, then we must crave the meat of the Word and conquer spiritual passivity. We must also “rise and rise again” in the name and power of Christ. Each day we must speak and act with boldness, both at home and in the public sphere. Finally, we must expose the corrupt sheriffs and Godfreys in our churches. We may endure imprisonment at the hands of church and government leaders, but we must still speak up for truth and justice. Only then can the “lambs become lions.”

__________

[1] New King James Version, unless otherwise noted

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