This is a story about what makes a true friend and is a call to appreciate those who are—if that’s the lesson you drew from this illustration, you’re almost there.
1. The lion represents God.
In the friendship between the archer and the lion, the animal was in no way inferior or subordinate to the boy. Lions are awesome and majestic creatures. They’re the kings of the jungle. So why would a creature of that stature stoop down to befriend and defend a lowly man? That’s exactly the point. God Himself descended to our level to have a relationship with us. Or at least that’s how He originally intended it to be.
The Bible tells us that God created the first man and woman—better known as Adam and Eve—to take care of the Garden of Eden. He lived among them and provided them all they needed. The only thing He told Adam not to do was to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Read the full story in Genesis 2:15-25). Adam obeyed, and everything went swimmingly. Initially, at least.
2. The archer represents us.
Just like how the archer soon became obsessed with obtaining the fruit and eventually stepped out of the box to get hold of it, Adam and Eve crossed the moral boundaries laid out by God in order to consume the forbidden fruit. (Essentially, a serpent tempted Eve, who then ate the fruit and gave it to Adam.) The fruit looked good to eat, and appeared to offer great wisdom (Genesis 3:6). As a result, both of them broke God’s commandment and just like that, the relationship between God and man was also broken.
If God sounds like a killjoy—restricting our lives with a bunch of archaic and outdated rules—may I suggest that He’s in fact the complete opposite. As our creator, God sets the boundaries for us so that we get the best experience of living on this earth. His rules are meant to protect us from harm, and enable us to enjoy life to its fullest. When we think we know better and contravene his laws, we suffer as a result.
3. The lion died and came back to life, just as God did.
Hang on, didn’t the lion die after taking a bite of the fruit? That means God died, right? You’re absolutely right. Although Adam and Eve did not die immediately after eating the forbidden fruit, they faced death as a punishment for their disobedience—a physical as well as spiritual death, which would separate them from God forever. Adam’s act of disobedience—coming from the representative of the human race—meant that all mankind henceforth would similarly have to die a physical and spiritual death.
Hey, that’s not fair, you might say. Adam and Eve were the ones who ate the fruit, not me. Perhaps you can consider this: The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:22 that just as death came through one man, resurrection from the dead also came through one man. This refers to Jesus, the Son of God and God Himself (John 10:30). Jesus came into this world in the form of a human being, to die on the cross on our behalf for the wrong that we committed against God (Colossians 2:13–14). Just like Adam’s sin affects all of us, Jesus’ death also works for all of us. If we didn’t deserve the punishment due to all mankind because of Adam’s sin, we also don’t deserve Christ’s sacrifice.
But thankfully, the ending is a happy one. Being a sinless being, Jesus conquered death once and for all, rising from the dead three days later. If you were wondering why there were paw prints leading out of the grave in the last panel of the illustration, it’s because Jesus is alive today.
You might ask, so what does this all mean since I don’t know or have a relationship with God? Well, you could, if that is your desire. The Bible assures us that whoever repents of his sins and believes in Jesus will be able to enjoy a relationship with God and not have to face spiritual death (John 3:16). It’s a relationship that is far better than any human relationship we could have—a relationship with someone who will never fail or disappoint us; a relationship, with the one true friend.
Are you willing to take a step into the box and experience life with the one true friend?
Click here to view the ‘Out of the Box’ Illustration.