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Like a Lion


Hosea 11:10-11, “They shall go after YHWH; He will roar like a lion; when He roars, His children shall come trembling from the west…and I will return them to their homes, declares YHWH.”

Matthew 27:50, “And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up His spirit.”

John 11:52, “[Jesus died] to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.”


In Hosea 11:10, Hosea envisions the eschatological ingathering of the scattered people of God. YHWH will “roar like a lion,” and by this sovereign, summoning “roar,” His people will be drawn home to Himself. Of course, whenever I read about the gathering of God’s exiled people, I think of John 11:51-52 and 12:32.

In those two texts John present Christ Himself as the unifying force—the divine “gravity”—who draws the scattered people of God into one. But what’s especially significant about John’s interpretation is that he understands Christ to perform this unifying work precisely in His death. 11:52 says that He will die to unify the people, and in 12:32 Jesus says that it is when He is “lifted up” (on the cross) that He will draw all men to Himself.

But how can that be? How can this most repulsive of spectacles—a crucified man—be the unifying factor, the gravitational center, the soul-compelling beauty that draws the scattered people of God into one?

It is because—in the light of His resurrection—the crucified Christ is revealed as the Power, the Wisdom, the Beauty, the Name of YHWH God. The true people of God, ransomed from every nation, language, tribe and people, are those who—by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit—perceive in the risen Crucified One the glory of the One True God. They are those who receive the Name (character, identity, beauty) of the Father as declared definitively in the Son, and—being united in that Name—are one, even as the Father and Son are one (John 17:11). They are those who see by faith the wounds of crucifixion in the flesh of the living Jesus Christ and, falling on their knees, confess Him as Lord and God and Life.

Yes, it is the crucified Christ who unifies the people of God, who gathers the scattered children from all nations. And so, I don’t think it would be unfaithful to Hosea’s original intent to say that YHWH’s sovereign summons is roared from Calvary….and if that is the case, might we not see in Hosea 11:10 and anticipation of that “loud voice” with which Christ cried from the cross (Matt 27:50)? A cry that natural ears receive as despair, but one which the ears of faith receive as the Roar of Judah’s Lion, conquering His enemies and ransoming His people as the Lamb who was Slain (Revelation 5:5-10).