Spotless Jaguar

Another of my favourite car mascots is that of Jaguar. A more accessible luxury maker than the Roller and the Bentley, the first car was made in 1935 under founding father, Sir William Lyons. I’ve often wondered why he never called his company Lion or Lyon, but modesty may have forbade him. In 1945, it adopted the striking feline motif as its symbol. The gracefully leaping jaguar is elegant, powerful and ‘ambitious to move forward’ as one source puts it.

Jaguars aren’t mentioned in the Bible, being only known to the Americas, but its Panthera relation, the leopard, certainly is. Jeremiah famously asks

"Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then you also can do good who are accustomed to doing evil.”

In other words, leopards can’t become spotless, neither can sinners become righteous.

Yet Isaiah 11:6 does note a change in the leopard. It’s not his beautiful spots, without which he’d hardly be a leopard. Rather, it’s his diet and levels of aggression:

And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them.

If a young goat lies down with a leopard today, I wouldn’t fancy his chances. The verse describes Christ’s reign; some take it literally, others symbolically, but this leopard is a changed cat. No longer does he leap to kill, offering his sharp teeth with menace. He’s as gentle as a pampered tabby cat.  

None of us can change ourselves. We cannot effect the self-improvement so many of us know we need. But Christ and His transforming power can make the leopard gentle, the wolf amicable and the young lion peaceable. He takes wilful, proud sinners and turns them into tender, beautiful saints. 

The Jaguar motif is lovely, but a sanctified saint is lovelier still.