TEXT: Rev. 5:1-14
In ch. 4 the worship focuses on God the Father for His work in creation. Here in ch. 5 the focus changes in worship of God the Son and His work of redemption. Chapter 4 sets the stage, but chapter 5 is the drama, broken down into three “acts”…
I. THE SCROLL (Rev. 5:1-4)
In John’s vision, no one in all creation had the perfect character and the perfect power to open the scroll of God’s will – his redemptive blessings and judgment to come. If no one came forward, God’s will would not be fulfilled, and His plan of redemption would not be completed. All would come to nothing. All the struggles, all the pain, all the effort, would be pointless and fruitless. So John weeps.
To have Christ is to have hope. But to be without Christ is to be without hope. And that’s what we are meant to see here in these verses. The scroll is important. It’s the visual of God’s judgment to come. But the scroll itself is not the focus. The real focus is on the one worthy to open the scroll.
II. THE LION / LAMB (Rev. 5:5-7)
John’s weeping is interrupted as his attention is drawn to a figure near the throne, described by the angel as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and the Root of David. When John looks, he sees a lamb. The lion is the lamb.
The Lion, the monarch, the conquering king who rules over all, He conquered by becoming a sacrificial Lamb. The one with all power and authority willingly submitted Himself to be murdered. That word “slain” actually means “to be slaughtered”. He was butchered. Jesus willingly, lovingly laid down His life as payment for my sin and your sin. His perfect righteousness given to us in exchange for our filthy rags. His perfect innocence poured out for our undeniable and complete sinfulness. In the most miraculous display of mercy every revealed, the Perfect died for the wicked. And through faith in Him, we are redeemed.
John sees Jesus as the ruling, powerful, conquering Lion who conquered by becoming a slaughtered Lamb, sacrificed at the Cross. Because of this, He alone is worthy to open the scroll.
III. THE NEW SONG (Rev. 5:8-14)
In one of the most dramatic descriptions of heavenly worship, the creatures and elders around the throne begin to sing a “new song” in worship of Jesus (v. 8-10). This is a new song in response to a new blessing from God – the Lion/Lamb has been slain to bring about redemption through His own blood. This worship becomes contagious, rippling out until all the angels of heaven join in the song (v. 11-12). Finally, all creation joins in the refrain that Jesus our Redeemer is worthy of all glory (v. 13). Coming full circle, this picture of worship ends where it began, at the throne of God (v. 14).
To see that now reminds us, at the end of it all, there is purpose. There is meaning. There is a plan. There is growth for you, and glory for God. And, that stands true for the things to come in your life, for the trials you will face in the months and years to come, the things you can’t see, but Jesus can. Jesus shows this vision to John and the churches of Revelation to encourage them and to prepare them for the trying times to come. He is doing the same for you. Keep your hearts anchored in Him. Keep your eyes on Him.
And let those words ring in your heart: “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah has conquered…”