Lessons from the Lion…a Fresh Perspective on Christ’s Sacrifice

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lion-craft Sometimes everyone needs a bit of refreshment of the spirit, and for me that can often come from a good book. In fact, literature can provide amazing and wondrous insights and inspirations in so many ways. One significant power of stories is how they can shed new light on old lessons and principles. Jesus himself demonstrated this in His usage of parables, opening the eyes of his disciples (or trying to, at any rate) by providing illustrations of His teachings. He gave a different perspective or emphasis to show what was significant. As Christians and teachers, we all face the danger of banality, teaching lessons in the same ways so much that we become immune to the wonder of God’s messages. It may take a character from literature itself to revive our teaching. In this lesson, we tap the beloved Chronicles of Narnia series of C.S. Lewis for a beautiful and allegorical rendition of Christ.
Note: There are many nuances of the Aslan character which can be pointed at for Godly principles and fresh perspective. This lesson focuses primarily on his actions in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and how they demonstrate the Gospel story. Whether or not students are familiar with the series, explaining the correlation of stories can still be a powerful and beneficial tool.
Opening/Background: If students are not familiar with the story, provide a brief synopsis. Better yet, show the movie if time allows, but if time is limited explain as much as possible: Four young children in England are spending a summer in the country when they find a magical country in another world. While there, they meet animals that talk, a horrible witch who has cursed the land with eternal winter, and a remarkable lion named Aslan who rules the place. One of the four chooses to betray the others to the witch, therefore endangering their safety and in fact becoming imprisoned himself. The only thing that can save him from death is the death of another. Aslan sacrifices his life to the witch, taking Edmund’s place and ultimately rescuing the whole country of Narnia from the grip of the witch.
Biblical comparison: Clearly, Aslan is a God figure in the Narnia stories. He is the creator of Narnia and rules over everything in it. He is King of beasts and King of all worlds. Sometimes looking at his characteristics inspires excitement and adoration that can carry over to worship of our real Heavenly Father. Consider descriptions of Aslan:
“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.” (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe).
He’ll be coming and going” he had said. “One day you’ll see him and another you won’t. He doesn’t like being tied down–and of course he has other countries to attend to. It’s quite all right. He’ll often drop in. Only you mustn’t press him. He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.”
Aslan is not safe. He is not tame. Neither is God. We shouldn’t be looking for or expecting anything tame when it comes to God. He is good. He is the King and His ways are beyond ours. Like Aslan, God is the creator and ruler of all. And like Aslan, he has given himself. If then, Aslan is Christ, we are the Edmund figure. Reading the stories it’s easy to look down on Edmund as a vile traitor and “bad guy…” but that role was filled by our sins really…we are no less guilty than the fictional Pevensie and no less saved by the grace of God.
So what is next? In the book, the White Witch kills the lion. But that certainly doesn’t end the story. Aslan’s sacrificial death fulfills a prophecy that brings Him back to life, of course echoing Christ’s own resurrection. And the story doesn’t end for us either. We can continue to explore and find footprints of God’s amazing creativity and Heavenly stories throughout books, movies, stories…and all of our lives.

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