Summary: Rev. 5 is the worthy chapter of the book. Out of 7 uses of the word in Revelation, 4 of them are here in this chapter, and they all refer to Jesus as the Lamb of God who died for the salvation of a lost world.
WORTHY IS THE LAMB Based on Rev. 5:1-14
By Pastor Glenn Pease
Colonel John Howard was ordered to retreat in the Revolutionary War. But as he did, the British started to charge, and he decided to surprise them. He ordered his men to attack. They did and won a smashing victory for which he received great honor. But General Morgan reminded him, had his plan failed he would have been shot for disobeying orders. His decision could have led to disgrace rather than honor. Opposites can be so close, and in the case of Jesus as the Lamb of God, these opposites comes together as one. The disgrace of the cross became the basis for Jesus to be honored, not only for all history, but for all eternity. A song we will never cease to sing is the song, Worthy Is The Lamb Who Was Slain. Every joy and every pleasure of the eternal kingdom will be ours because of his sacrifice for us.
After ten billion years we might forget every aspect of the history of earth and time, but we will never forget this song. Rev. 5 is the worthy chapter of the book. Out of 7 uses of the word in Revelation, 4 of them are here in this chapter, and they all refer to Jesus as the Lamb of God who died for the salvation of a lost world. This song of heaven exalts Jesus in a way no other does, for it is not just the redeemed humanity that praises His worthiness, but the angels, and all the beings of creation. We are focusing on verse 12 which is the angelic chorus portion of this grand universal musical.
The whole creation joined in one,
To bless the sacred Name,
Of Him that sits upon the throne,
And to adore the Lamb.
I think the church has underestimated the roll of angels in the whole plan of God. This text tells us they are together as a multitude beyond number praising the worthiness of the Lamb just as loud, if not louder, than the redeemed. I fear we have underestimated the cosmic consequences of the cross. We are told that angels cannot know what it is to be redeemed by the Savior, and there is no doubt truth to this, for they were never lost. But Christians have gone to far in separating the angels from the joy of salvation. They know and feel more than we realize. They are the ones who rejoice over every sinner who repents. They are the ones who sing of the Lamb being worthy of 7 things: Power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and praise. Seven being used all through the book for completeness and totality. In other words, there is nothing imaginable for which Jesus is not worthy of honor.
The angels actually know more about what Jesus deserved and merits for His sacrifice than do the redeemed. We tend to want to make salvation man-centered, but the fact is, the Bible expands the picture to include all of creation, and the angels are deeply affected by this. It is superficial, therefore, to put the angels down as does Anna Grannis in her poem:
There's a song the angels can never share
While the endless ages roll;
The song of one who has been redeemed,
The song of a ransomed soul:
Shall we sing it together, thou and I,
With the wondering angels standing by?
Shall we sing it there in the courts above-
The heaven gained through redeeming love?
Our text tells us it is not so. The angels are not just standing by. They are singing just as loud as the saints. They understand that Jesus deserves every honor that heaven is capable of bestowing. To be worthy is to deserve what you get. We are not worthy of the least of His favors. We are saved totally by His grace. But Jesus is exalted as King of Kings and Lord of Lords because He earned that honor. He deserves it, and every knee will bow to Jesus because He is worthy. Aristotle said three hundred years before Christ, "Dignity does not consist in possessing honors, but in deserving them." The whole point of heaven's praise is that the Lamb of God deserves all the honors He receives. The greatest rewards in heaven will be given to Jesus, for He alone deserves them. We can't consider all 7 of His honors but I want to select three to focus on that all began with the letter W. Worthy is the Lamb to receive Worship, Wealth, and Wisdom. These represent all of which He is worthy. The first is the word praise which is the same as worship.
I. HE IS WORTHY OF WORSHIP.
We need to grasp this basic truth that praise or worship is not to be founded on the worthiness of our circumstances alone. When all is well and we flourish under showers of blessing, we naturally praise our Lord with hearts full of thanksgiving. But we can easily let this lead us to conclude that our blessings are what makes Jesus worthy of worship. The fact is, He is just as worthy when we are up to our knees in mud, because the showers of blessings have become a cloud burst of calamity.