Photo by Jodi. Oakland, NE. Fall 2015
Intro. We think often as we come to Church that we just answer every question with ‘Jesus’ without thinking much.
This reduces him to boring or what is banal.
However, in Revelation 5 Jesus is anything but trite and boring. He is both lion and like a lamb and the only one in all the earth worthy to open the scroll.
The big idea. John sees the conquering Lamb who is worthy of worship.
I. The cosmic challenge. Vv1-3
The problem facing us is that the scroll which contains important words from God is sealed not once but seven times. Seven is the symbol or image of perfection or impossibility to open by any normal person.
If it can’t be opened, then all the brokenness of the world cannot be undone, and the cries of the saints will go unheeded and in vain.
So, the grand, cosmic question of the ages is, “who is worthy to break the seals?” Buddah is not. Mohammad is not.
No one was found who could open it.
II. You would cry too. Vs4
John says he laments loudly here with this dispair that no one is found to open this scroll. No one is able to set all things right and make all the purposes known for the world that God has for it.
So he weeps.
What if there was no one strong enough to make the bad undone and original purposes left unflourishing?
III. The conquering lamb. Vs 5-7
One of the elders tells John to stop crying. He quotes Isaiah 11 and says the lion from the tribe of Judah is qualified to open the scroll.
So we expect to see with John a strong lion, uberman type figure. But instead we get a lamb standing as though he had been slain.
We see sacrificial language here – not a pretty sheep but a bled out sacrificed lamb.
NT Wright quote – how can a lamb have seven eyes and be royal? “In John’s vision, nothing is ever said straightforwardly. Rather, everything must be seen in its multidimensional glory.”
John is mixing his metaphors here. Horns represent power and Jesus has seven of them meaning he has ALL POWER. Eyes represent truth, and he has seven of them or ALL TRUTH.
Is he the lion or the lamb? Yes. Is he all powerful or all truth of the epic sacrifice? Yes! He is both. He is meant to be praised for the descriptions of his character not drawn in some modern art composure with all the eyes and horns.
He is worthy!
IV. Worthy of worship. Vs8-14
Instead of weeping with their harps in the trees by the Kabar canal in exile while GOD’S people are being taunted, GOD’S people here fall down and worship in joyful humility and celebration.
Conclusion. All of GOD’S purposes will come to pass. The context of this passage today is John being asked by God to come up and see heaven and how all this will take place (Revelation 2).
The Lord’s Supper is a divine victory dinner. At the moment of the resurrection God defeated every enemy we have.
The lamb who is slain has overcome! Come and feast at his victory table – the communion table – a foretaste of the spectacular, material feast to come!