The Lamb of God in The Lion of Judah (Movie Review)

Lisa HollowayBy Lisa Holloway6 Minutes

Although Jesus was always the Lion of Judah, He chose to come to us as a lamb—a humble and willing sacrifice for our redemption. John the Baptist pointed to this prophetically when he said of Jesus:

“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
—John 1:29

In the animated movie The Lion of Judah, the main character is a bold lamb named Judah who has the heart of a lion. In many ways, he shows young children how to have courage—how even someone small can live boldly.

Yet more importantly, he helps us see what we can’t do for ourselves. Because no matter how brave we are—and Judah is a very brave little lamb—he learns that, in the end, he can’t save himself. Only the King can. On our own, we are stuck with a very big consequence: death. Yet Jesus came down to us to make a way to life eternal—the Way. He offers this gift freely to all who believe Him and receive it.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—
and this is not from yourselves. It is the gift of God.”
—Ephesians 2:8

But how do you get a young child to understand these big concepts amidst something that could seem very sad or complicated to them? How do you explain both the gift … and the triumph?

The Lion of Judah does this well and serves as an engaging, child-friendly introduction to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. With the voice talents of famous artists like Ernest Borgnine, Sandy Patti, and Michael Madsen, this story of Jesus told through the eyes of Judah and his friends is a welcome addition to children’s entertainment.

A Hero Born in a Stable

Much like Jesus’ life on earth, our story about the lamb Judah begins in a stable. Judah comes delivered in a traveling crate labeled “Jerusalem,” and the other farm animals do everything they can to find out what’s inside.

Fortunately for them, Judah wants freedom more than anything else. He breaks out—apparently, not for the first time—only to wind up caught and caged once again … just like us when it comes to sin. Unfortunately for them, however, their friend Drake gets boxed up with Judah in the process.

When the crate is loaded in a wagon bound for the Passover in Jerusalem, the faithful bunch makes a bold decision of their own. They set off to rescue their friends, encountering all kinds of adventures along the way.

Cages We Can’t Escape

Monty the horse, Esmay the cow, and the rest have a meandering journey from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, encountering Jesus on the way. Jesus heals the donkey, Jack, and rides him into Jerusalem—this after Jack had vowed never to go back there. But now Jack has met Jesus, the King, and it changes him. He has new purpose.

Meanwhile, Judah and Drake go straight to the temple warehouse. What do they find when they get there? A whole bunch of others, locked inside cages of their own. Not one of them has a way to get out—and some of them don’t even realize they should want to. They’re quite content with their cages, thank you very much.

But Judah isn’t fooled. The desire for freedom is strong within him, like a compass. He is ready not only to break out himself, but to set all the captives free. When his friends show up to help him and Drake, Judah inspires them to help everyone. And it’s while they’re in the midst of their plan to bring deliverance that Judah is caught all over again. (Spoiler alert: None of the animals die.)

Judah is caged and sold. Finally, as he waits alone in the darkness, he realizes his fate. He can’t escape. And when the others try to save him, the walls start caving in.

The Cost and the Promise

The story throughout is an allegory of salvation for children. Because in the end, Judah knows there’s only one person who can save him from death: Jesus. Freedom is possible. Beyond all hope, life is possible. But the price the Lion pays as He dies like a Lamb is unbelievably high—a grace beyond measure.

Yet the One who made us knew we were worth every drop of blood to Him, every moment alone on the cross. Because He knew what the enemy didn’t: It would bring freedom to all who believe—eternal life and redemption for all who receive Him.

It is astonishingly, beautifully humble for the creator of all things to offer Himself for us and to us. All for the promise of making sons and daughters out of slaves.

This, above all, is the message of The Lion of Judah—a simple, often funny, and unusually meaningful Christian animation for ages 6 and up. Watch and discuss with your kids for a child-friendly introduction to salvation and the power of Jesus’ love.