Last week we entered into the glorious worship scene of John’s vision, recorded in Revelation 5. We left off with John weeping. He was weeping, because no one was found worthy to open the scroll in the hand of God. That scroll represented God’s plan to right all the wrong in the world. Without anyone to open it, creation was doomed. The same can be said of our culturally constructed salvation narratives. These narratives promise redemption, yet – as we saw last week – they cannot deliver on those promises. In the end they leave us weeping, like John before the unopened scroll.
Thankfully the scene does not end there. One of the elders, in that heavenly scene, speaks up: “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.” Finally, someone strong enough to right the wrong in the world. He is described as a lion, fulfilling the blessing of Jacob on the tribe of Judah in Genesis 49:8-12. He is described as the “Root of David,” fulfilling the Davidic prophecy of Isaiah 11:1-3.
Yet, one more description is given. “Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by four living creatures and the elders. […] He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne.” The one who is worthy to take the scroll and open its seals does not come from anything or anyone that God has created. He does not come as the strong and powerful. He comes as a Lamb. And he carries on him our wounds, the affliction that should have been ours.
Renown theologian John Stott once said, “I could never myself believe in God if it were not for the cross. In the real world of pain, how could one worship a god who is immune to it?” We have a God who not only shares solidarity with our pain, but comes to experience suffering to its greatest measure, so that we need not. He rescues us from our self-afflicted alienation from our Creator, so that all creation may be redeemed.
Here, in the Lamb that was slain, we find one worthy of our utmost worship. Take a moment to contemplate the slain Lamb of God.