Summary: This is the second of three sermons based on "The Chronicles of Narnia."
The Victory of the Lion
Introduction: Aslan, the Redeemer.
1. Edmund betrays his siblings.
We told the story last week of the four Pevensie children and how the entered the magical land of Narnia. They found out that Narnia was ruled by an evil witch, Jadis, and Edmund met her and ate her food, which turned out to have powers that would enslave him to her. He eventually went to the Witch to betray his siblings into her hands (though he didn’t know that she wanted to kill them). So, Edmund is captured by the White Witch and the other three kids are on the run and their only hope is the Lion, Aslan. They have been told that he is on the move.
2. The Deep Magic of Narnia.
Edmund’s treachery not only betrayed his siblings but all of Narnia. The prophecy was that two sons of Adam and two daughters of Eve would rule Narnia, so his decision put in jeopardy the plans for this world. The kids meet Aslan and he is able to rescue Edmund. But the Witch comes to talk to Aslan about this and she tells him this; “You know that every traitor belongs to me as my lawful prey and that for every treachery I have a right to kill.” She was referring to the Deep Magic of Narnia. They were the laws in existence before the beginning of time that governed Narnia. The idea is that a traitor’s life is forfeit and that treachery cannot simply be overlooked.
3. The sacrifice and resurrection of Aslan.
Aslan has a private meeting with the Witch and announces that she has renounced her claim to Edmund. But secretly in the night Aslan slips away. Susan and Lucy follow him and end up witnessing a horrible sight. Aslan gives himself up for sacrifice to be humiliated, shaved, and killed on the stone table, where Edmund was supposed to die. Even Aslan can’t undo the Deep Magic of Narnia. But he can give himself to die in his place. But the story doesn’t end there. The next morning to the joy and surprise of Susan and Lucy, Aslan is resurrected! He comes back to life as powerful as ever. He explains that an even deeper magic was not known by the witch; “there is a deeper magic still, which she did not know…that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the Table would crack and death itself would start working backward.” Aslan overcame even death. There is a not so inconspicuous connection between the Lord of Narnia and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Trouble in the Text: No one is found who can open the scroll (1-4).
1. The throne and the scroll.
The one that is on the throne is God the Father, the Holy, holy, holy one (cf. 4:8). He is being worshipped by the angelic beings of heaven in this vision given to John the Apostle. Now John sees in his right hand a scroll. On that scroll there is writing on both sides. It is filled up to the max. Seven seals were customary to seal an important document (like executive order or will). John instinctively knows that this scroll has great value.
2. The great search.
The symbols of strength continue with the mighty angel who issues a challenge to heaven and earth. He wants to know who can take the scroll from the one on the throne. Who is worthy? Who is worthy to take something from God?! No one dares to step forward and so no one is found in “heaven or earth or under the earth.” IOW, no creature can open this scroll.
3. John is devastated.
It says that he wails and wails. Why is John so upset about this scroll? Throughout Revelation it becomes clear that scroll is representative of God’s divine plan in history. It is how God will vindicate the saints and vanquish his enemies. If the scroll can’t be opened then the plan cannot be carried it out, and the persecution of the saints in the Roman Empire is all for nothing to the saints. IOW, there will be no new heaven and new earth, no presence of God, no victory, only defeat and despair. No wonder John is weeping.
Trouble in the world: Human beings cannot save this world.
1. This world is getting worse.
In the late 19th century many believed that this world would get better as the majority of the world accepted the gospel. It never happened. Two world wars destroyed any notion that with technological progress we would achieve a sort of utopia. Our world is even worse today. Pollution, disease, terrorism, natural disasters, crime all remind us that no matter what humans do we can’t save this world. No matter how many peace treaties are signed, no matter how much faith we put in the ideal of human goodness, no matter how many streets we clean up, we can’t save this world. W/o divine intervention, evil will triumph.