This post is part of a devotional series based on our 2019 Bible Reading Calendar.
I wept because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or even to look in it. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Look, the Lion from the tribe of Judah, the root of David, has conquered so that he is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Then I saw one like a slaughtered lamb standing in the midst of the throne and the four living creature and among the elders. ~ Revelation 5:4-6
If you have ever seen a lamb, powerful and fierce are probably not words you would use to describe it. If you had seen a lamb that had been slain, the image would likely produce pity in you more than any other emotion.
Yet, this is the way John described Jesus is described in one of his visions.
These verses remind us that looks aren’t everything. When Jesus came into the world, other than to those who knew the story, he didn’t seem like anyone special. Born of a young woman about to be married to a lower-class husband. He grew up to be a carpenter by trade and a man that the prophet Isaiah said was no one special to look upon.
Yet, when Jesus began his ministry, he taught with authority, he healed the sick, and he raised the dead. This was no ordinary man but the God the Son himself, the creator and sustainer of the universe, robed in human flesh.
When Jesus went to the cross, he was bruised, beaten, and bloodied. He seemed weak, his body even succumbing to death, the same type of death the worst criminals would die. Yet, though in the moment he seemed defeated, three days later he rose from the grave in victory.
John saw Jesus as a slaughtered lamb, a helpless sacrifice, but one who was also very much alive and powerful. He looked like a slaughtered lamb, but this was the Lion from the tribe of Judah. A lamb seems week; a lion is one you tremble before.
This is the paradoxical way that God works. The all-powerful One doesn’t need human strength. The Holy One sacrificed himself for a bunch of sinful rebels to save us when he could have instead crushed us. Jesus won the victory over sin not with swords but with love and grace.
A lamb appears weak, but, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slaughtered to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing” (5:12).
So, let us find our strength not in the power of man but in the Lamb who was slain and let’s celebrate him.
All Scripture quotations taken from the Christian Standard Bible.