In 1898 Colonial Britain had determined to put a railway from the east coast of Africa through to Lake Victoria. The line, still in use, runs along the south end of modern day Kenya crossing the Tsavo River. While the bridge across this river was being built two lions terrorized the crews killing, according to eyewitnesses, 138 men. Recent chemical analysis of the lions’ hair and bone has determined that likely only 34 humans were consumed between the two lions in the three month before they were shot and killed, but the exaggeration emphasises the terror running through the camps.
The lions would enter, at night, any one of the camps scattered along a thirty mile stretch of track and snatch workers right out of their tents. Even the construction of thorn fence “bomas” and night fires were ineffective at inhibiting the man-eaters. The locals called the lions, “the ghost” and “the darkness.” After months of fruitless searching Lt. Col. John Henry Patterson, who was responsible for seeing the bridge built, finally shot the lions selling their skulls and hides to the Field Museum in Chicago, where, stuffed, they greet visitors to this day.
Why did these lions kill and consume flesh? Quite simply because they were lions. Granted it is rare for lions to become man-eaters, but the primary reason they attacked the workers is because that’s what lions do. It is their nature to kill and eat flesh. They cannot do otherwise.
Though the parallel is limited, it does help bring some understanding of why we all need Jesus. Romans 8 sets out the truth that all of humankind is born with a sin nature. We sin and cannot do otherwise. For those who would object that you may occasionally do a bad thing, but you don’t sin all the time look at verse 8. It says in your natural condition, literally in the flesh, in the nature you were born with it is impossible to please God.
But here’s the good news: Jesus offers us a new nature – his own. If we will relinquish our own nature (admit our sin nature and that in it we can’t please God) and through faith receive Jesus’ sinless nature, Romans 8 goes on to say we cease to become bound to sin and instead become bound to righteousness.
So here’s the question; are you still trying to please God in your sin nature? Verse 9 says anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Christ. It’s all in the nature. What’s yours?