REVELATION 5 – The Lamb upon the Throne

John the Apostle received instructions to record what Jesus revealed to him in a book (Revelation) during his exile to Patmos (AD 96), including this chapter on the Lamb receiving the scroll in the throne room. Note that Revelation chapters 4 and 5 is one thought, one vision.

Scripture

Revelation 5:1-14

1  Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2  And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” 3  And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, 4  and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it.

5  And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” 6  And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7  And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.

8  And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9  And they sang a new song, saying, “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, 10  and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”

11  Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12  saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” 13  And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” 14  And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

Observation and reflection questions

  1. John shifts his attention from the worship of him on the throne (chapter 5) to a scroll. What does John record to indicate the importance of this scroll?
  2. Why would John weep so much? Why could this scroll be so important?
  3. An elder announces that there is one worthy to open the scroll. Note what John records about the Lamb. What do we learn about the worth of the Lamb from each of these attributes?
  • Lion of Judah:
  • Line of David:
  • Amidst Throne:
  • Seven Horns:
  • Seven Eyes:
  • Takes the Scroll from God:
  • A Lamb that is Slain, yet standing in Heaven:
  1. Note at the response of those around the throne – who does what? What do you learn about Him from the worship of the Lamb?

Personal Reflection questions

  1. Christ is recognized as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, yet he is worshipped as the Lamb who was slain.
  • How would this way of the Lamb have comforted the persecuted church in the first century?
  • How would this way of the Lamb have challenged the expectation of the persecuted church for deliverance from the Roman persecutors?
  1. Consider Philippians 2:5-10 that speaks of Christ’s example of meekness and obedience. How does this way of the Lamb challenge your response in conflict and hardship today?  Do you have examples of how the way of the Lamb have resulted in godly outcomes to difficult times?

Prayer and Worship

In prayer declare 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 today:

“But I know [His] grace is sufficient for you, for [His] power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

scroll

 

 

Healing the Brokenhearted 2 – the Great Exchange

The aim of this devotional study is to personally reflect on Christ’s substitution for our suffering and provision for our restoration.

Scripture

Isaiah 53:3-5

3  He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  4  Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.  5  But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement [punishment] that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Observations

  1. When you read this Old Testament prophesy of the Messsiah (about 700BC), what event do you think it refers to?
  2. Reading verses 4 and 5, what is the core message the prophet wants to convey?
  3. According to this Text,
    1. what did the Messiah suffer? [hint: look at the verbs / action words]
    2. what did we gain from the Messiah’s suffering? [hint: look at the nouns]
    3. what was our behavior and condition at the time of the Messiah’s suffering?
    4. for whom was the Messiah’s substitutionary suffering?

Personal Reflections

Transgression: breaking a law/ sinning while fully aware of one’s actions.  Deliberate or conscious sin.

Iniquity: “bend in the spirit”, some spiritual flaw which manifest as bad habit, character fault, addition, etc.

  1. Considering that I am body, soul and spirit (cf 1 Thessalonians 5:23), what does this Text say the Messiah’s substitutionary suffering had accomplished:
    1. for my spirit (verse 5)
    2. for my soul (i.e. mind, will and emotions; verses 4 and 5)
    3. for my body (verse 5)
  2. Consider the statement in verse 6.
    1. What does that suggest about my own state at the time of the Messiah’s substitutionary suffering?
    2. What does it suggest about God’s intent and commitment for my own healing?
    3. What does it suggest about my responsibility in earning this healing – current and future? [hint: what do I have to do to get it?]

Application and Prayer

Jesus, the Messiah has through his vicarious suffering [on your behalf] obtained healing for your spirit, soul and body.

  • Regarding your spirit: Which iniquity was Jesus, the Messiah, crushed for that you are still in bondage for?
  • Regarding your soul: Which grief, sorrow, anxiety or confusion are you still suffering from which Jesus, the Messiah, was punished for?
  • Regarding your body: Which sickness or disease are you still suffering from which Jesus, the Messiah, was wounded for?
  1. Thank God for the gift of healing through Jesus’ suffering.
  2. Confess your belief that Jesus’ suffering was enough for your need.
  3. Pray as the Spirit leads for your complete healing.
  4. Tell a friend about this.

Knowing Jesus 6

The Aim of this devotional study is to learn about Jesus’ identity from a confession of Jesus.

Scripture

John 1:19-34

19  And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”  20  He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”  21  And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”  22  So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23  He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

24  (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.)

25  They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”  26  John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27  even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.”

28  These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

29  The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!  30  This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’  31  I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.”

32  And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.  33  I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’  34  And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

Observations

Note: Every single story recorded in John’s gospel is written to give a revelation of who Jesus is, so that the reader may have faith in Jesus – refer to John 20:30-31 “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

  1. What was the ministry of John the Baptist? And what was the purpose of his ministry? (see verse 31).
  2. Looking at these verses, what can you learn about the identity and ministry of Jesus from John the Baptist’s sayings? (Take special notice of the names and titles attributed to Jesus.)
  3. This event occurred the week before Passover feast, and every Jewish family was looking for a lamb to be slaughtered to celebrate the deliverance of the Jews from Egypt; what did it mean when John called Jesus “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”? (verse 29)
  4. What did John mean when he said about Jesus “After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’” (verse 30) Why did he need to say that to the crowd gathering around him?

Application and prayer

  1. John’s hearers were Jews who believed and God and came to be baptized with water as a sign of repentance, to make God number one in their lives (refer to Acts 19:1-7). However, John pointed them towards Jesus, saying he alone could take away their sins.  Think back on your life – was there ever a moment when you, seeking God, received revelation that Jesus is the only he who could take away your sins?  Relive that moment, and thank God for it.  Are you still living with the reality that Jesus only can make you clean before God?  Commit to that!
  2. John said that Jesus was more important (in ministry and person) to himself. Take some time and think how your life reflects – or does not reflect – that truth.  In which ways can you show today (and this week) that Jesus is superior to you?
  3. Spend some time and worship Jesus as The Lamb of God that took your sins away, the Christ who baptizes with the Holy Spirit (read “makes us children of God”), the Superior One, and the Son of God.