“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:9b-10)

John describes for us a rather fantastic vision: the Lion who is a Lamb that looked like it has been slain, killed, sacrificed, yet is alive. The Lamb had 7 horns, symbolizing sovereignty over all things, and 7 eyes symbolizing wisdom and omniscience. John and his audience do not need to ask Who are you? For they knew who this was. This Lion who is a Lamb is Jesus.

The vision of the Lion who is the slain Lamb is one of the keys to understanding the book of Revelation and the Bible itself: Jesus, God Himself, Sovereign creator and ruler of all the universe, became man. He achieved victory over sin and death on our behalf by His sacrificial death on the cross. We accept this by the faith which He lovingly bestows upon us, apart from any good deeds or religious works we have done, or any worthiness on our part. Thus the path to eternal glory lies not through human means of fame, wealth or political power, military might, or violence but through weakness, and surrender as we follow in the footsteps of the Lamb who redeemed us.

John records that this amazing paradox of a Lion who is a Lamb inspired the emotional praise and worship of all those in heaven. We Lutherans are quite familiar with these words as we sing them in the Divine Service on the Sundays after Easter in the hymn “This Is The Feast.” These words demonstrate what praise is. The heavenly chorus praises God for what He has done, for it is so glorious for they proclaim that the Lamb is Almighty God Himself. Only He was worthy to suffer and die for our sins. Only He is worthy of praise and adoration for He alone possesses sovereignty, wisdom, and might. Our praise ought to be totally centered on Jesus and what He has done and not on our self. Therefore, as we contemplate His Almighty sufficiency Him we are encouraged and strengthened to take up our call to live as His children and proclaim His message of love and forgiveness.