“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 saw a vision of a 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 knew who this was. This 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 own sacrificial death on the cross. This shows us that our path to glory lies not through human means of fame, wealth or political power, military might and violence but through weakness, suffering and martyrdom as we follow in the footsteps of the Lamb who redeemed us.
This amazing paradox inspires the emotional praise and worship of those in heaven, the living creatures, the elders and the angels. We Lutherans are quite familiar with these words as we sing them during the Sundays after Easter in the hymn This Is The Feast. What was sung in heaven demonstrates to us what praise is. The heavenly chorus sings exactly what God has done, for it is so glorious. And as they do this they demonstrate 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 so centered on Jesus and what He has done and not on our self. In this way we call to mind His trustworthiness and unfailing love. And by faith in Him we are encouraged and strengthened to take up our call to live as His children.