Summary: The silence in heaven was complete and heart-breaking when God asked for a worthy one. But then a Lamb steps up and takes the scroll...
Passage: Revelation 5:1-10
Intro: PP (butterfly out of focus, then in focus, then out again)
1. dissatisfaction, satisfaction, dissatisfaction.
2. for centuries we have celebrated Palm Sunday, Easter.
3. we have looked at the story of the crucifixion of Jesus millions of times.
4. but the picture is still fuzzy for many, because we stop too soon, don’t really get the picture in focus.
5. my friends, there is no passage of Scripture that sharpens the focus better than the one we are looking at today.
6. drawing on other texts as well from around the Bible, God will paint a very clear picture for us.
7. there is nothing God is more interested in than giving us a clear picture of who Jesus is and what He accomplished.
8. the events of the week beginning on Palm Sunday and ending on Easter Sunday are the most important events in the history of the world.
9. so we need a perfectly sharp picture of what was going on.
10. let’s go to heaven to get the clearest picture possible.
I. Deafening Silence
1. the scene is one of powerful holiness
2. chap 4 just presented God as absolutely holy, beautiful, powerful, eternal.
3. first picture we see in chap 5, a scroll with 7 seals, held by God Himself.
4. it is the plan and purpose of God, to be revealed in the rest of Revelation.
5. it is final righteous judgment and salvation.
6. nature of this type of scroll, addressed to a particular person, “only to be opened by the authorized recipient.”
7. and so there is the haunting question: “who is worthy”
8. the real question is this: who can God entrust with His righteous plan, to fulfill it so that God Himself is satisfied.
9. “who can I trust to fulfill both my absolute righteousness and my absolute grace and mercy and love.”
10. and the answer is a deafening, heartbreaking silence….
11. God’s purpose is reconciliation with His fallen creatures, but neither His fallen creatures nor his angelic creatures are up to the task.
12. four times in vv3-4 there is a negative particle, no one, nor, nor, nor
13. the unworthiness of any person or being in the created universe to fulfill the righteous requirements of God is absolute and universal.
14. remember, we are not satisfying ourselves. We are easy. We can come up with many ways to “reconcile ourselves to God.”
15. we are not righteous, God is.
16. and when faced with His perfect holiness and absolute righteousness, we are appropriately silent.
16. so the challenge is unmet, and John cries and cries. But not for long.
II. The Slaughtered Lamb
1. the silence is broken by the words of an elder in v5. “stop crying” Why?
2. There is a person, a human being, who is worthy.
3. Lion of tribe of Judah
PP Genesis 49:9
4. so he is a promised one
5. root of David, also promised and delivered
6. notice this worthy person “has triumphed” Something in the past qualifies him to take the scroll. v5b
7. amazing confidence. No words, just action…he takes the scroll, and there is tremendous agreement from the throng, who falls down before him
8. now we will find out why he is worthy to carry out the righteous plan of God.
9. “because you were slain” The image of the slaughtered Lamb, meant to be shameful by Satan, is now a badge of great honor.
10. Why? Because it is the fulfillment of the character of God, absolute righteousness, requiring death for sin, as God promised.
-the wounds on the Lamb the only sign of sin in heaven, but sin that has been defeated
11. but fulfilling that requirement on behalf of every person, because He had no sin of His own to atone for.
12. the worthy one had to be fully human, but triumphant over sin and death.
13. this triumph qualifies Him to be our Savior
13. and clearly, because of the consistent fallen nature of man, He had to be a rescuer from outside the human race, yet became part of the human race. V6
14. he is standing in the center of the throne, and accepts the worship intended for God alone. So he is God
15. and now, because He uniquely fulfilled all the requirements of God to be Savior, He now is qualified to be the agent of God’s righteous judgment.
16. God’s righteous judgment and God’s plan of gracious salvation fulfilled by one and the same person: the Lamb who was slain.
PP John 1:29
PP Christ on the cross
17. look at the cross, recognize it is an event of great triumph, awesome righteousness, amazing love and grace