Summary: As John is shown heaven's throne, he sees the Lion of Judah as the slaughtered Lamb taking the scroll. How this truth drives out our worry! Parts: A. He is the slaughtered Lamb. B. He is the universal King.

Text: Revelation 5:1-6a

Theme: The Lion of Judah Reigns!

A. He is the slaughtered Lamb

B. He is the universal King

Season: Pentecost 4c -- God's Names

Date: June 20, 2010

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Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. We join John as he describes the vision of heaven Jesus gave to him. Revelation 5.

"And in the right hand of him who sits on the throne, I saw a scroll with writing on both sides sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel loudly proclaim, "Who is worthy to unroll the scroll and break its seals?" No one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could unroll the scroll or look into it. I was weeping a lot because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or look into it. One of the elders says to me, "Stop weeping. Behold, the Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered [and is worthy] to open the scroll and its seven seals.

"And I saw a Lamb as though slain, standing in the midst of the throne and the four living creatures and in the midst of the elders . . .

"(Revelation 5:1-6a")

Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:

The years weighed heavy on him. He lost his beloved wife as she gave birth to his youngest son. How he nearly died with grief when the bloody clothes of another dearly loved son were brought to him! But what joy years later when that son was found alive and well! Could it really be true? Yes, it was. He had to go and see him. What a reunion!

But now seventeen more years have passed. Old and frail it took all his strength just to sit up in bed. He had one more task to accomplish before he passed away. He needed to speak words of prophecy and blessing over each of his sons. And when he comes to his fourth oldest, he says, "You are a lion's cub, O Judah; you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness -- who dares to rouse him? The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his." (Genesis 49:9, 10 NIV).

After blessing his twelve sons, Jacob "drew his feet up into the bed, breathed his last, and was gathered to his people" (Genesis 49:33 NIV). Joseph and his brothers took the body of their father, Jacob, out of Egypt and buried him in the cave of Machpelah in Canaan, alongside their forefathers, Abraham and Isaac.

But what of those words to Judah, "You are a lion's cub . . ."? They were but a small band living in the land of Goshen in Egypt. And when their numbers grew, Pharaoh enslaved them. Where was the lion? The great deliverer who led them out of Egypt to the promised land was not from the tribe of Judah. Moses came from Levi. And when the nation of Israel asked for a king, the first king was chosen from the tribe of Benjamin. Where was the lion of Judah?

Then came David. He was the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon, the son of Amminadab, the son of Ram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah. David, anointed by the prophet, champion over Goliath, victor against the Philistines -- this David became king. He held the royal scepter. Was he the one foretold by Jacob: "the scepter will not depart from Judah . . . until he comes to whom it belongs . . ." (Genesis 49:10 NIV). Was he the Lion of Judah? No, he wasn't. He was a shadow of the Lion who was yet to come.

Those were glory days as David reigned in Jerusalem and his son, Solomon, after him. But then the tree began to wither. After Solomon, the kingdom divided leaving David's family the smaller part. And although David's descendants continued to rule for several centuries, the dynasty fell in 586 B.C. Jerusalem was destroyed. David's remaining heirs were taken into exile. Even after the return from exile seventy years later, no descendant sat on the throne in Jerusalem as David and Solomon had done. David's family tree was a dead stump.

But look! From those roots buried and long dead, a Shoot springs up. It grows from a virgin who had been living in Nazareth. How weak it appears as he's laid in a manger in Bethlehem! "He grew up . . . like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering" (Isaiah 53:2, 3 NIV). But that Shoot, dear friends, that lowly Shoot from the root of David is the Lion of Judah.

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