The Lion of Judah

Life gets tough. Navigating this world of sin and death, sadness, fear and pain, evil and barbarism is work – hard work. We pray for happiness and peace. We trust in the Lord that we will have it, but, life is tough.

33 I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

Reassurances come, hopefully daily, if we are in the Spirit. Small non-coincidences, tiny little happenings or soft gentle taps on our conscience let us know that the Holy Spirit is still by our side, carrying life’s load with us. We wake up every morning and receive new compassion from our Lord because of our faithfulness.

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.

Lamentations 3:22-24

Sometimes, though, we need a reminder of what is coming for us as believers. Jesus has already won by His death on the cross, and we, who have asked Him into our lives and chosen to believe and trust will share in that victory. Every now and then it is REALLY good to remind ourselves what is coming. What winning looks like.

Enter the Lion of Judah.

Revelation can be a complex book and Chapter 5 is no different, but if we leave some of our questions for later study, it is pretty straightforward. The Moody Bible Commentary is a great starting place for someone that wants to dive deep into Revelation and especially Chapter 5.

In Chapter 4, a vision of God in Heaven is shown to John, the writer of Revelation. At the start of Chapter 5, God is looking across all of creation for someone who is worthy to open the scroll that contains the judgements that will kick off the beginning of God’s triumph over the world. But, no one, not a single person alive or dead is worthy – we have all sinned over and over like our ancestors throughout the old Testament – except one. Jesus is that one. He is the ONLY WORTHY ONE.

5 Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.

Revelation 5:5

Revelation 5:5 is the culmination of the Gospel, the final proof that Jesus is who He and so many of us have said He is. As prophesied hundreds and hundreds of times in the Old Testament and shown in person in the new, Jesus is the Messiah. The entirety of chapter 53 of Isaiah is one of the best mentions of Jesus. Verse 5 is pretty succinct.

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

Isaiah 5:5

Behold the Lamb

Back to Revelation. So Jesus is professed to be the Lion of Judah, but what happens next? Our conquering lion immediately shows himself as a lamb who has been slain.

Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders.

Revelation 5:6

It is this duality that so many people do not get because it is so hard to believe. Jesus is both the Lion of Judah and the Lamb of God – the almighty conquerer and the one who loved us so much that He gave Himself up as a sacrifice for our sins. God foreshadowed this in the VERY BEGINNING – in Genesis 22 when he gave Abraham a lamb to sacrifice as a burnt offering rather than have Abraham sacrifice his son.

Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together.

Genesis 22:8

And John the Baptist proclaimed it in the New Testament.

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!

John 1:29

And finally in Revelation 5 it is summed up in the praise and worship of the millions of angels in heaven when He is revealed.

And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign[b] on the earth.” 
Revelation 5:9-10

So throughout the entire Bible, God has been faithfully preparing for our victory through His son Jesus. It has been a long journey with many ups and downs, for those in the Bible and for us, but in the end, Jesus wins and we will live with Him forever!

12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

14 “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. 15 Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

16 “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.

Revelation 22:12-16

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