A Death-Defying Savior - Radical

A Death-Defying Savior

Various religious leaders have risen to prominence across the history of humanity. Jesus, however, stands entirely distinct from other teachers and leaders for a host of reasons. In this message on Revelation 5:1–14, David Platt explains the uniqueness of Christ as the conquering Lion and suffering Lamb who is deserving of all praise. From this passage, Pastor David Platt offers four characteristics of Christ that uniquely set Him apart.

  1. Jesus knows the ultimate problem.
  2. Jesus pays the ultimate price.
  3. Jesus fulfills the ultimate purpose.
  4. Jesus deserves the ultimate praise.

If you have a Bible with you or around you let me encourage you to open with me to the last book, the Book of Revelation. If you don’t have a Bible with you let me encourage you to maybe find someone around you who does. Maybe they would be willing to share. I want you to be able to look as we study God’s Word together.

There are a lot of people in our culture today talking about Jesus. Many of you know that The DaVinci Code is a book that has ideas about Jesus. It has sold millions and millions of copies; about to be released in a new movie. So there are a lot of people talking about some of the issues that go along with that when it comes to Jesus. Even in the news the last couple of weeks the gospel of Judas has been pretty prevalent and this idea it is promoting about Jesus.

There are a lot of people talking about Jesus in our culture today but some where along the way in our culture we get the idea that we can redefine who Jesus is. We can make Jesus who we want Him to be and kind of throw out all the things we see in the Bible out and make Jesus to be who we want Him to be. I think it’s a pretty dangerous place to be when we try to redefine who Jesus is.

Imagining Church

Let me give you an example. I want you to imagine that after you worship here today, you leave and the rest of the day you go, you spend time with your family or with others. Imagine someone who wasn’t at church today comes up to you and asks and said, “How was the service; how was church today?

And you began to tell them about the music and how great the music was and all the songs; and you begin to tell them about the cool drawings and how incredible that was. And then just imagine, you get to the point and you say there was this guy named David Platt preaching. And at that point, imagine that person who was has asked you the question looks at you and says, “You mean, you heard David Platt preach today?” I want you to follow along with me, it can happen. Alright! And you said, “Yeah” and then they said, “You mean THE David Platt was preaching today” and you said, “Yeah” and they said, “You mean THE David Platt, you were with him on Easter morning!” You said, “Yeah, that’s who I was with. Okay it can happen just follow along with me here, okay.

And imagine at that point they said, “Wow! I mean you mean the guy, that big strong guy, dark skin, looks like he works out all the time, kind of a cross between a professional athlete and a movie star, that guy?”

Now at that point you’ve got two options for how you respond to their question. On one hand you could say, “That is definitely not the David Platt that I saw today, I saw this skinny kid, bowlegged, looks like he just got out of high school. That’s the guy I saw!” Or, your second option when they say, “You mean the big strong guy that looks like he works out all the time, dark skin, professional athlete, movie star type, you could look at them and say, “Well, if that’s your interpretation of who David Platt is.”

Revelation 5 Gives Full Glory to Jesus

Well, here’s the deal, I’m not open to reinterpretation and if I’m not open to reinterpretation neither is Jesus Christ. We are wrong if we think we can come on the scene, and it’s been done for hundreds and hundreds of years, and try to redefine who Jesus is.

So what I want to do, is I want to show you in a passage of Scripture a portrait of Jesus and I want you to see a picture of who He really is; not who I say He is; other people say He is. I want you to see who the Bible says Jesus is, and I want you to see this picture because I am convinced with all of my heart that if we would see a picture and a portrait of Jesus for who He is we would find Him irresistible. And we would realize that He is worthy of more that our church attendance, He is worthy of more than our casual devotion, our mediocre commitment to Him, He is worthy of our entire lives. I want you to see that with me in Revelation 5.

What’s So Unique About Jesus?

What I want us to do is to think about one main question. What’s so unique about Jesus? There are a lot of religious teachers and leaders across the history of humanity. What’s so unique about Jesus? And I want to show you four characteristics of Jesus and who He is. And, I believe when we see those characteristics we will also see four reasons why Jesus is worthy of our ultimate devotion; worthy of our entire lives. I want you to dive into it with me.

Jesus knows the ultimate problem.

Revelation 5: What is so unique about Jesus? I want you to see that Jesus knows the ultimate problem. Jesus knows the ultimate problem and this sets Him apart from everybody else. Look with me at Revelation 5:1.

Now, this is a picture that John gives us of a vision he had but it’s really a kind of a step back overview of the book of Revelation and even the Bible as a whole. It kind of gives us a broad range here. I want you to look at what happens. He says, “I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne” – which is God – “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?’” (Rev. 5:1–2). Now, in order to understand what’s going on in this passage, we’ve got to realize the magnitude of what is represented in this scroll. So I want you to picture with me a scroll from the start of our time together.

Now, it wouldn’t look a lot like this because even here in Scripture we see that it had writing on both sides, probably a larger scroll. But just to give you a picture, the scroll that looks like this would be pretty large and it would have a seal on the outside of it. And basically, when someone who was worthy or able to enact what was written inside the scroll came and broke that first seal then basically they would unroll the scroll and they would read what is there and that would be the method by which that is enacted. When it basically comes to life, comes to reality. So obviously, somebody pretty important has got to be the one who is going to break the seal.

Revelation 5 Highlights the Righteousness of Christ

Now, this says, “this scroll had seven seals” and so what you got a picture of is somebody who could break the first seal and see that enacted, and then once you unroll that you’ll come to a second seal. You got to be able to break that, then the third, then the fourth, the fifth, the sixth, all the way to the seventh seal.

In fact, turn over to the one chapter, Revelation 6. This starts to unfold here in verse one. Look what the Bible says, “I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals” (Rev. 6:1), and it talks about what happened. Look in verse 3, “When the Lamb opened the second seal.” Verse 5, “When the lamb opened the third seal.” Verse 7, “The lamb opened the fourth seal.” Verse 9, “The lamb opened the fifth seal.” Verse 12, “I watched as he opened the sixth seal.” You turn over to chapter 8:1, you see when He opened the seventh seal there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. So the question in verse 5 is, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?”

Now obviously we don’t have time to study the whole book of Revelation this morning even these chapters that follow to see what’s unfolding in this scroll, but I want to give you a picture basically to summarize what is written on both sides of the scroll in Revelation 5 is God’s purposes, final purposes for all of His creation.

God’s Final Purposes

We know that way back in the beginning of this book Genesis 3 sin entered the world and it marred God’s creation, as a result of sin, which all of us are guilty of. I know there are a lot of people here, but every single one of us has sin in our lives. And because of that, we see the effects of that on the world in suffering, in pain, the things we experience as a result of our sin or even when we are trying to do good we still experience suffering.

So that’s the picture we’ve got from Genesis 3 all the way to this point. Now we’ve got God’s final purposes. How he’s going to bring an end to that, bring an end to suffering and pain and evil for His people. How He is going to pour out His blessing on His people in all of eternity as well as His judgment and that’s what contained in this scroll—the final purposes of God for all of creation.

So, this is a pretty huge deal. Your eternity, my eternity; bound up in what is written on that scroll in the hands of God.

Now, some of you might be thinking, “Well Dave, why didn’t God just open the scroll Himself?” Well, I want you to realize what that would mean. If God, who was completely holy and has so sin in Him, were to open a scroll that would unfold the purposes of His character for all of creation and if all of us stand before Him with sin in our lives having being disobedient to Him, the only option for us in all the eternity is what? Judgment and condemnation. That is clear throughout the Bible. As a result of the fact that we all have sin in out lives, we are separated from a holy God and the ultimate problem in the universe, please don’t miss this, the ultimate question in the universe is, “How can sinners like us be made right with a holy God.

Revelation 5 Expresses the Need for a Mediator between God and Man

We talk about heaven almost flippantly. We got to realize, in order to spend eternity in the presence of God there’s a sin problem that has to be dealt with in order for that to happen. So we don’t want God to open the scroll without a mediator between Him and us that takes care of that problem. So, I want you to see that because of our sin we stand before a holy God two characteristics that I think we see in this passage. Number one, we stand before a holy God hopeless. And number two, we stand before a holy God helpless.

You see, what happens is, verse 3 says, “No one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it”, and verse 4 says, “[John] wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside” (Rev. 5:3–4). Because of our sin we stand before a holy God. Hopeless, number one. Now I want you to imagine with me; this scroll, if it holds the end of suffering, the end of pain, God fully bring His blessing on His creation restoring it back to what He created it to be.

Imagine reading this in the first century. These were a people who were experiencing a pretty deep persecution because they were Christians. They’d experienced a lot of suffering in their families. Some guy’s wives had died, husbands had been killed, and then murdered, they’d been martyred. They’d seen their children taken away from them. They’d experienced pain and at this point John sees that, that which brings an end to all of this. God’s blessing is for restoring things the way they should be, an end to the suffering, the pain and he sees that at the right hand of God but nobody is able to open it. That’s why we see John, not just weeping but it says he wept, and he wept, and emphasized it. This is huge because the hope of something different is gone in this picture.

Dealing with Suffering in the World

It’s the same kind of questions we ask today. I am guessing most if not all of us at some point have asked, “Is this really all there is in the world?” You’ve experienced pain; through suffering; I know that some have experienced the pain of cancer—“Is that all there is? Is that it?” Other diseases… Natural disasters… My wife and I eight months ago had our house completely flooded, taken away from us. Tsunami’s, earthquakes, wars…You ever think, “Is this all there is?” There is a hope there that there is going to be a difference one day that something is going to change and everything is going to be made right. That’s the hope we hold on to. But if nobody’s able to open the scroll, it takes hope away completely. I want you to see the gravity of this situation.

Not only hopeless but I said helpless too because the Bible says we look and nobody around us was able to help out in this situation. There is nobody who is able to go into the presence of God, just imagine walking into the presence of God, boldly going up to him, taking the scroll out of His hands and opening the scroll. That’s a pretty bold move. Who’s got the right? Who’s got the credentials to actually do that? It’s a big question?

There’s been a lot of people throughout the history of the world that have come on this religious scene—religious teachers, religious leaders—and have given teachings, some that thousands, some that millions have followed, to say “This is how you find life.” But if you look through all those religious history books you will find that not one of those people says, “We are able to get rid of the sin problem that separates us from a holy God.”

Revelation 5 Reminds Christians that Only Jesus Knows the Ultimate Problem

There are a lot of teachers who say, “Do this or do that or do this, follow the Quran, follow the eightfold path, do this in order to achieve peace with those around you.” But at no point do you get rid of this sin problem and I want you to see that from the very beginning of this passage Jesus knows the ultimate problem here. How can we stand before a holy God; how could we ever be with a holy God that is the problem that is more important than any other problem any of us will ever face. It’s a pretty bleak scene because he looks and says, “Nobody is saying anything.”

Kind of reminds me of a childhood memory. You ever been to Chucky Cheese here in Birmingham? You know that place? That place will scar you, okay. It will scar you. I really believe that. Chucky Cheese, it’s a good place. I know it’s a good place. Even two weeks ago my wife and I were taking our niece and nephew there; we were there for them on their birthday. That place will give you a headache in five minutes, easy, but even more than that, as a kid, you remember what happens.

You go to that place, you get all these tokens and then you go play a bunch of games. You put the token in you play a game. All kind of different games; skee ball, you played skee ball lineup, you played skee ball for hours and you sit there and you do your best if you are a little kid. I remember my mom or dad, they’d be there to try to help me kind of get the ball because I couldn’t even get it up to where the things give me any points but I’d get it up there finally and when you play the game, what comes out? Tickets, there’s these tickets that kind of come streaming out there.

The Shortcomings of the World

And so you try to go around to all the games trying to get as many tickets as you can. You are having a great time and its so much fun. You, your mom and dad just having a great time. Well then, then comes the bad part. You are ready to leave. You’ve had a great time. You‘re going toward the exit and you go by this one area called the redemption counter. Okay! You know what I am talking about? This is the part that scars you. All right. Because you walk up there as a little kid you got these tickets that you worked hard for. You are holding them in your hand. You walk up there and you see before you this picture of so many things that you would love to have. Immediately your eyes go up to the very top. On the top shelf there is some huge stuffed animal that you can just picture in your room and its worth like 80,000 tickets, but you don’t know that.

So I looked at my mom or dad and be like, “I want the bear”… “I want the big stuffed animal.” They look down and say, “Son, you definitely don’t have enough tickets.” So my eyes would come down one more level. One of those lava lamps, you know one of those things. One of those pointless gifts, but they are really cool looking, okay. You say, “Okay, I’ll take that cool lamp looking thing”…I want that. It was like 40,000 tickets. Do you know how many hours of skee ball you have to play to get 40,000 tickets? Mom and Dad look down and they’re just like, “Son, you don’t have enough tickets.”

So I come down a little farther. How about that remote control car? I’ll take that. “Son, you don’t have enough tickets”. This process goes on until you just get down to that little case right in front of you. And here you are this little kid and you see this glow in the dark eraser, little pencil sitting beside it. You hand your tickets to your mom or dad, they get the tickets and it scars you. You spent hours and you walk out the doors of Chucky Cheese with a glow in the dark eraser and pencil in your hand because you don’t have enough tickets for what’s on the top shelf.

Revelation 5 Thanks Christ for the Covering of Our Sins

Now get that picture in your mind when you come here to Revelation 5 because the stakes are much, much higher. On the top shelf is your eternity, my eternity, heaven, forgiveness of sins, joy, an end to the suffering and pain. That’s on the top shelf. Now imagine in this scene, with that on the top shelf, imagine the roll call that takes place in Revelation 5.

Abraham standing over there, “Abraham, do you have enough tickets to go up there and take the scroll? You are the father of the people of God. You started this whole thing off way back in the beginning of this book. Abraham, do you have enough tickets?” Abraham just looks down and says, “I don’t have enough tickets.”

“Moses, you led the people of God, you led them through the Promised Land, you led them through that sea where it split, you led the people of God in such an incredible way. You’ve got enough tickets, surely you do.” Moses kind of just hangs his head and says, “I don’t have enough tickets.”

What about all of the Prophets; these guys who literally gave their lives—were killed because they proclaimed the Word of God; Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel. “Surely one of you guys has enough tickets. You gave your life!” They look down and say, “We don’t have enough tickets.”

We cannot Buy Our Salvation

“John the Baptist, you prepared the way for the coming of Jesus. Jesus spoke so highly of you, surely you have enough tickets.” John the Baptist says, “I don’t have enough.” “Peter, ‘on this rock I will build my church’? James, John, any of you disciples?” “We don’t have enough.” “Paul,” he wrote half the New Testament, “you’re the greatest missionary that ever lived. Surely you’ve got enough tickets?” Paul just hangs his head and says, “I don’t have enough tickets.”

Coming into a contemporary day, “Mother Teresa, you did more good and cared for more people than millions put together. Surely you’ve got enough tickets.” Mother Teresa looks down and says “I don’t have enough.” “Billy Graham, you’ve preached to more people than anybody else in the history of the world. Surely you’ve got enough?” Billy Graham hangs his head and it goes on and on and on.

Who’s got enough tickets? Who is really going to approach the throne of God, take the scroll out of His hand, break the seal and open it? Is Muhammad going to do that? He doesn’t have enough tickets. The Buddha, is he going to do that? He doesn’t have enough tickets either. Your new age physic? He or she doesn’t have enough tickets. Oprah, Dr. Phil, not enough tickets. It’s silent in heaven.

Revelation 5 Highlights Christ as the Only Way to Salvation

Comes back to you and me. Do you have enough tickets to open the scroll? Every single one of us can just hang our head and say we don’t have enough tickets. And that is the picture we see here. It is pretty despairing. It kind of reminds me. Some of you may be thinking, “Well you are talking about different religions not having enough tickets. I am an atheist I don’t even believe in God.”

Well, I think what we are talking about this hopeless and helpless really is summarized in that idea. Even that is from self–proclaimed atheist. I remember Bertrand Russell, he wrote a book called Why I Am Not a Christian. He is a very notable atheist of the 20th century. At the end of his life on his deathbed, these are the words that he said.

He said, “I have nothing to hang on to but grim unyielding despair. Because if there is no God and we’re just some product of our creation and we are just in this cycle where we will be here for a little while then we’ll go away and somebody else will move on. It’s just this endless cycle. Where’s the hope of the end of suffering or pain? Where’s the hope in that, it’s hopeless and helpless.” That’s the picture we’ve got here. Jesus knows the ultimate problem.

Jesus pays the ultimate price.

Number two: Jesus pays the ultimate price. I want you to see what happens next. We’ve got the stage set with this problem. Now look at what happens in verse 5, “One of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep!’”—John is just weeping; he’s lost it—“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” (Rev. 5:5).

Now we see a pretty extreme paradox at this point and we can’t miss it here. On one hand we see a conquering lion. That’s the picture that the Bible has given us here, of a Lion of the Tribe of Judah. I want to show you something really cool. This is not just a thing that kind of appears here in Revelation 5. This is something that was talked about thousands of years before that. Hold your place here and turn back to the very first book in the Bible.

Genesis 49. Turn with me back there to Genesis 49. I want you to read how this whole thing got started. Way back in the first book in the Bible.

Reference to Revelation 5 in Genesis

What we are about to read is Jacob speaking prophecy or words about the future to his sons. One of his son’s names was Judah which we just saw mentioned back in verse 5. “Do not weep the Lion of the Tribe of Judah”. What does that mean? Look back in Genesis 49 look with me at verse eight when Jacob is speaking to Judah.

Now this is hundreds upon hundreds of years before Revelation 5 is thought about. Look at this, “Judah, your brothers will praise you; your hand will be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons will bow down to you. You are a lion’s cub, O Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness—who dares to rouse him?” (Gen. 49:8–9). Is this sounding familiar? Look at verse 10, “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his” (Gen. 49:10).

Don’t miss this, at the very beginning of this Book it’s talking about one who is going to come from the line of Judah and this one is going to be the one it all belongs to. What we are talking about here in Revelation 5? The one who it belongs, and the obedience of the nations is His and He is going to come like a lion. That is what Genesis 49 says. Revelation 5 gives us a picture.

John hears this voice and it says, “See the Lion of the Tribe of Judah; the root of David.” Isaiah 11:1 and 10 talks about how Jesus would come as through the line of David who was also through the line of Judah and He would come and be the root, the offspring, of David. Revelation 22:16, the very last book here, talks about how Jesus is the root and offspring of David. So Jesus is the Lion here that’s who is being talked about.

I want to show you something else that’s really cool back here in Revelation 5. I want to give you a little Greek lesson. I know that you didn’t come to church on Easter morning expecting some Greek lesson but I want to give you a picture of some Greek in this passage that you already know. There’s a Greek word in this passage that all of you, I am confident, are familiar with. I want you to look with me in verse 5. It says, “See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed” (Rev. 5:5). Some translations say, “prevailed”, other translations say “conquered”.

The Conquering Lion of Judah

Now, the Greek word, the original language of the New Testament that’s written right here is a word that all of you are familiar with. I am guessing you are familiar with, I know it will be a little tough to see it from the back, but a slogan. It’s got a swoosh on it; on the front of these shoes you see the word, NIKE. That’s the word here in the New Testament, Nikao, and it literally means “prevail” or “conquer”, “triumph”.

That is what this word means. That is why they chose it as the name for this company because in sports we want to conquer and we want to win. So they sell this, they put this label out there, “Buy Nike, you’ll win”. I have worn Nike golf shoes before and I have never conquered in golf but it doesn’t work completely but I want you to see that is exactly what this word means. It talks about conquering and prevailing.

I want you to realize that Nike didn’t come up with this word. God did. And God used it to refer to His Son. He said, “He’s the one who like a Lion is going to prevail, is going to conquer.” You see in order to get the scroll you don’t just saunter into the presence of God and kind of try to slip it out of His hand. No, you have to walk in boldly because you have conquered.

Revelation 5 Praises the Suffering Lamb

That’s the picture we’re going to see first but don’t miss what happens next. So John is wiping away the tears from his eyes. He’s heard about the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Look at what verse 6 says, “Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth” (Rev. 5:6).

Now, that’s a pretty incredible picture. John’s expecting to turn and see a lion and instead he turns and he sees this lamb that looks like it has been through a meat grinder. It’s a horrible picture of a lamb looking as if it had been slain. So I want you to see two facets of this picture of Jesus. He is the conquering Lion but He is also the suffering Lamb.

Now in questions the people have had about Jesus over the last hundreds and hundreds of years, many times people either go to one side or the other of this picture. There is a lot of people who picture Jesus as a suffering Lamb, as kind of a weak, a good man, but who really couldn’t; didn’t have a lot of power; really couldn’t get people to follow Him. All He did was hang out with this rag tag group. On the other hand, there are a lot of people who say, well Jesus was a great man, He was a great religious teacher with much power but they deny the fact that He died on a cross.

God in the Flesh

One example of that, simple example, in our world today is Islam. Muslim’s do not believe that Jesus was crucified on a cross. In fact, they abhor the idea. They think it is a horrible idea that Jesus would die on the cross. I’ve talked with many of the whether in Indonesia and they will say they have two main problems with this picture of Jesus we are talking about here. Number one, they have a problem with the fact that we are saying that Jesus is God in the flesh. “So that’s crazy”, but what makes it even more crazy, they’ll say, is second, that “You would say that God in the flesh would actually be crucified to a cross, would be assassinated in such a cruel, inhumane, embarrassing way. God would not do that.”

I read a Muslim scholar recently who even wrote these words, this Muslim scholar said, “We honor Jesus more than you Christians do. We refuse to believe that God would permit Him to suffer death on a cross.”

I want you to see this morning in this portrait of Jesus that in order for Him to be the conquering Lion on the landscape of human history He had to play the role of a suffering Lamb. They go to together. In order to conquer and be able to walk into the presence of God and take the scroll He had to pay the price for your sins and for my sins. In order to make a way for us to be united with a Holy God, He had to play the part of the suffering Lamb. The cross was not an option for Him. It wasn’t plan B because things didn’t work out better. This was the plan of God in the universe to become a man and walk a road to a cross and die there to pay the price for your sins and for my sins, to take them away.

Revelation 5 Thanks Jesus for Paying our Debts

My wife and I, were in Birmingham here last night. We’d come in and I wanted to take her out on kind of a nice date, take her out to a nice restaurant. So I decided instead of taking her to McDonald’s or something like that last night I would take her to a nice place. We went over to Brookwood Mall, I think that is what it is called and went to a restaurant called BRIO. A real nice restaurant, so I was like, “Heather, I am going to treat you tonight. We are going to get just whatever we want. We are going to have a good time. So we did. I got a nice big steak and Heather got lobster bisque. We got dessert. We don’t usually get dessert but we got dessert.

We were sitting there eating, finishing up our desert, just having enjoyed our time together and our waiter came up to us and said, “Sir,” he said, “I want you to know there is a man here in the restaurant who has taken care of your bill.” He said, “I can’t tell you who he is, he just wants to thank you for what you have been doing over the last six or eight weeks and he wants to take care of your bill.” By the way, if you are in here and you paid for our dinner last night, thank you, I want to thank you for what you did for us.

We had this really nice meal and were able to walk away without having to pay a thing for it because our bill had been taken care of. I pray that you realize today, in a much, much deeper way that on your tab is your sin and the price for that sin is death, the price for that sin is suffering, and the God of the universe comes to you, and to me, and He says, “Your bill is taken care of, it’s been paid.” Nobody else in all of history can say that! Who else is going to pay that price? Take that tab upon themselves. Nobody one else can. That’s what’s unique about Jesus. He alone pays the ultimate price.

Jesus fulfills the ultimate purpose.

Number three: Jesus fulfills the ultimate purpose. Now, this is where it gets good when we really begin to think about this, what Jesus has done here because it says in verse 7, “He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne” (Rev. 5:7). Get the picture. Jesus walks into His presence, grabs the scroll, and takes it because He is worthy. It’s an incredible picture, particularly when we know the set up of what we have seen.

Just imagine. Some have called this the saddest day in heaven. This scene. That’s why John is weeping because he realizes the gravity of it. He’s standing there, he’s got tickets in his hand just like everybody else but nobody is able to pay. And here’s the scroll. Eternity, forgiveness of sins, heaven, joy, eternal life, sitting on the top shelf; It’s completely silent because nobody is able to pay that price and it’s an eternity without the hope that we are looking at. It’s in the middle of that scene things start to rumble a little bit and the silence begins to break.

When you and I are standing there at the throne of the universe with these tickets in our hands, having no ability to pay the price for that, it’s at that moment that Jesus Christ the Lion who is the Lamb steps up and He says, “I’ve got enough tickets!” He says, “I’ve got them all because I’ve paid the price for you! You don’t have to worry about your tickets, and how much good you can do or how much you can earn it because I have it covered. I’ve paid the price for your sins and I am able and I am worthy to walk into His presence, take the scroll and for you to experience the joy and the satisfaction in the eternal life that is held there. There is no more reason to celebrate than that right there”

That’s why we sing today that’s why we are here today. That Savior is worthy of more than our religious attendance and He is worthy of more than our casual devotion, our mediocre commitments, or being this thing on this side that we know about. He is worthy of our entire lives.

Jesus deserves the ultimate praise.

Jesus knows the ultimate problem, He pays that price. He fulfills the whole purpose here. I want you to see that Jesus deserves the ultimate praise. He deserves the ultimate praise. God help us. God help us in our religious subculture in the United States of America not to be casual with this King, this Savior, this Lord. He is worthy of more than us just getting dressed up coming to a place, and singing some songs and going home. He is worthy of everything.

What happens after this passage unfolds is things get really intense. Look at verse 9, it says, “And they sang a new song: ‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation’” (Rev. 5:9). Don’t miss it. On that day, our worship will be new. It will be new. Because this song hadn’t been sung in heaven, all the way before this in Scripture it had never been sung. When Jesus takes the scroll because of what He did on the cross and all of this unfolds, the song that says, “You purchased our redemption, our salvation.”

Our worship will be new, and don’t miss it, our worship will be never ending. What happens after that? “Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand” (Rev. 5:11). So the angels are getting in on the action. “They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: ‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!’” (Rev. 5:12). And then we join in.

Revelation 5 Sings Praises to the Lord

“Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing, ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!’” The four creatures bow down and they say, “Amen” which means it’s done, it’s finished, and they all worshiped and it didn’t stop and it’s not going to stop.

There’s coming a day in history when every single one of us will bow around the throne of the Lamb who was slain and the Lamb who won the ultimate battle and we will say that He is worthy. The question is, “Will we do that now or when it is too late?” No matter how hard your heart is, no matter how many times you say, “Well, I’m not going to call this Jesus my Lord.” There will come a day when every single one of us will bow the knee and call Him Lord because He is worthy and that sets Him apart from every person in all of history.

The Power of the Lamb

See the portrait. I believe when we see it we’ll see that He is irresistible. Why would we talk about a Lamb looking as if it had been slain, what a horrible picture, but don’t miss it, did you look in verse 6, you could almost have missed this, and John says, “I looked and I saw a Lamb looking as if it had been slain,” What is the Lamb doing? Underline it in your Bible, circle it, and put a big exclamation point next to it. The Lamb is not hunched over, the Lamb is not fallen down, struck down by what it had been through in that suffering. What is the Lamb doing? It is standing; the Lamb, looking as if it had been slain. What an incredible picture. It is standing at the right hand of God. You know why? How does the Lamb stand? Can a lamb, who has been slaughtered, stand?

Way back in Exodus 12 the lamb would be brought into a household on the 10th day of the month and they would spend four days with this lamb. They would grow attached to it just as we would get attached to a pet they’d get attached to it. On the fourth day, the fourteenth day of the month, they would slaughter the lamb. That lamb’s blood would be a symbol of the price we’d pay for our sins. That’s the picture God gives in the very beginning of the Bible. It comes over here to the end. And don’t miss it. The Lamb has been slain. He has died on a cross. For the Lamb is not laying down there. The Lamb is standing because He is not on the cross anymore, He has risen!

Revelation 5 Prays for Jesus to be the Master of Our Lives

I wonder what other religions think on Easter when all of us are doing what we are doing and they are thinking, “Our guy’s in the grave. Our guy’s still there!” This Lamb who has been slain is the Lion who has conquered and He is standing at the throne of God and He is worthy of all of our praise!

Will you bow your heads and close your eyes with me. I want you just to reflect on what we have seen from God in this passage and I want to ask you one ultimate question. I believe it is the ultimate question of the universe. It’s a question that every single one of us whether we are a child, a student, or an adult, senior adult and everywhere in between. Every single one of us has to answer this question in our lives at some point. The question is this, “Is Jesus the master of your life?”

What’s So Unique About Jesus?

  • Jesus knows the ultimate problem.
    • Because of sin, we stand before a holy God…
      • Hopeless.
      • Helpless.
  • Jesus pays the ultimate price.
    • The extreme paradox…
      • He is a conquering Lion.
      • He is a suffering Lamb.
  • Jesus fulfills the ultimate purpose.
  • Jesus deserves the ultimate praise.
    • Our song is new.
    • Our worship is never-ending.

The Biblical Truth:
Nothing can stop the mission of the church if death couldn’t stop
the master of the church.

David Platt

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.

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