In Revelation, Chapter 5, John sees a book in the right hand of one who sits upon a throne. The voice of a strong proclaimng angel fills heaven, “Who is worthy, who can open this book”?
To that, no one would answer. No man on heaven or on earth or under the earth. So John cries in anguish that no one can open the book. That is, until an elder in the Heavenly Host, assures John,“There is one, out of the Tribe of Judah, even the Root of David, who has prevailed and who is worthy!”
And John spans the throne room once again, to see in the midst of the four beasts and the elders, one at whose feet the elders cry, “You are worthy! You are worthy! You, who redeemed the nations. And who by your sacrifice, have caused the Kings and the poor, blacks and whites and browns and yellows, men and women from every corner of the world to come under one covenant relationship, one purchased and sealed until the Day of Redemption. You are worthy!”
John says, this one who takes the book is covered in blood. His body is torn. He is bruised. Scars that tell of immeasurable suffering. The one who takes this book, out of his love, has endured so much pain. John searches for words to describe the brutal damage this one has endured. And when this search for words ends, John reaches into the only words he could find that remotely conveys the horrible, horrible injuries, “He looks like a Lamb that had been violently slaughtered!”
John sees Jesus as a Lamb that had been slain.
To my friends, this season is not about bunny and eggs, and pretty clothes and food. While we bring these to the season, the season is about an act of terrorism, an attempted murder, an attempted execution. Attempted because the Lamb that had been slaughtered could not be killed, despite the savage assaults on his body. Indeed, from the Cross, the same Word that parted the waters of the Red Sea and delivered Lazarus from the grave, could have commanded legions of angels to fight for him. But Jesus was born to die, choosing to lay down his life to many. We are celebrating that choice and the power of God to vacate the borrowed tomb where Jesus once laid.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:14 , “If Jesus had not been raised, our preaching would be in vain.”
Consider something into which you gave all you had but because of one thing lacking, the whole endeavor, the whole effort proved to be in-vain. Such is true of our atonement with God. No sermons, no singing, no afternoon programs, and no sunrise services would be profitable had it not been for one thing – the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The resurrection is God’s assurance to man that, yes, this Jesus is who he says is. And the resurrection is God’s assurance to man that IT IS FINISHED, the price has been paid, and mankind now has a vicarious conduit through which to attain peace with God.
The resurrection gives us hope that God can raise up something new in the areas where we struggle and fall short. Eternally, God will one day raise our fallen, mortal bodies to take on immortal bodies. Our torn knees and shoulders, ulcers and hernias, bad backs, and tired feet won’t hurt us anymore. We will have new bodies, immortal bodies, won by the suffering of the One.
We will inhabit Heaven. And in our new bodies, our immortal bodies, if ever we ask, “By what have I received this eternal blessing?” We will forever be able to look to the throne, at One who is bloodied, torn, bruised, and pierced – at one who looks like a Lamb that had been slain. There, we will find the answer to our question, “It is by Him, that you have arrived here. It is by Him.”
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