Revelation 5: 1-4
Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?’
But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside.
This scroll contains details of all that lies ahead in the future. All the events, trials, tribulations, transformations and triumphs that will happen to John and to all of God’s people are going to be played before John in a vision – like a great apocalyptic movie before his eyes.
That’s really what the rest of the entire book of Revelation, from chapter 6 to chapter 22, is all about. The unfolding of what is to come.
Imagine that not one person in heaven or on earth was worthy to open the scroll. Every ruler throughout history, every famous name, every religious leader, every philosopher or scientist – not one was deemed worthy to open the scroll.
It’s all too much for John. He just weeps. He’s overwhelmed. He longs to make sense of his suffering, he wants to be able to find purpose in his pain. He needs to know that it’s all part of God’s plans and purposes. He needs this scroll opened. He’s inconsolable.
Then look what happens:
“Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.’” (v. 5)
It’s alright John, the Lion of Judah has triumphed. Because of his victory He is able to open the scroll.
John looks around expecting to see this powerful, awesome majestic lion walk in.
But look at what he sees, verse 6:
“Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the centre of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders.”
Instead of a lion, he saw a lamb. Not just any lamb, a lamb looking like it had been slain. In other words – it was a blood covered lamb. A sacrificial lamb, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Look where it is – if this lamb was still dead, it would be lying on the alter. But it’s not – it’s standing – in other words, it’s alive – and it’s not on an alter – but it’s right in the middle of the throne of God.
Because this lamb, this sacrificial offering whose blood was shed, might have died – but he didn’t stay dead. He conquered death, He rose from the grave, He defeated hell, and now He rules and reigns in absolute power and supreme authority – because this lamb, this sacrifice for sin, was none other than God himself, Jesus Christ.
The victory won through the lion, was accomplished by the sacrifice of the lamb.
The Lion of Judah –Jesus Christ, the awesome, majestic, eternal son of God – 2000 years ago - left the throne of heaven, came down to earth, and laid aside his majesty, his glory, his authority – God became a man - the lion became a lamb – and even though he never sinned - He was rejected and beaten, his body was torn, and He was nailed to a wooden cross – a perfect sacrifice. And as he hung on that cross, every single sin you or I would ever commit – it was all placed upon him – he took it into himself – and he paid the penalty of death on my behalf and on your behalf.
Look at what happens, verses 7-10:
“He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb…And they sang a new song, saying:
‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals,
because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God
persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God,
and they will reign on the earth.’
The Lion of Judah, the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ has triumphed, He is victorious. His blood has purchased us, He’s paid for us to be sons and daughters of God, a kingdom of priests who rule and reign in life. We share in His victory. And we invite others to share in it with us.
Everything which the world says should define us or determine us or defeat us – Jesus has already triumphed over it.
Every sin, every sickness, every bit of suffering that seeks to destroy us – it doesn’t have the final word – because Jesus has conquered it.
Ultimately we can’t lose – because the battle has already been won.
Jesus is not just Lord of my heart, but He is on the throne, and is Lord of human history.
No matter how dark the world around us gets, how desperate we feel, how discouraging things appear – we, God’s church, are a people of unshakeable hope – because we know the end of the story, and my story is part of His story, and His story ends in glory.