“Then I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll and read it. But one of the twenty-four elders said to me, “Stop weeping! Look, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne, has won the victory. He is worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
Revelation 5:4-5 NLT
John was bitterly disappointed that the “strong angel” was unable to find anyone who was worthy enough to open the scroll and break the seven seals. He was so disappointed that he recorded his bitter tears. But one of the twenty four elders took pity on him and told him to get a grip and stop crying. And with good reason, because he pointed out that Jesus was worthy enough to open the scroll. Of course He was.
Jesus, the Son of God, left the comfort of Heaven, and came to this world as a baby, born to a young peasant girl just over two thousand years ago. He was brought up, humble and obedient, as a typical Jewish boy of His time, before starting the ministry of an itinerant Rabbi when He was about thirty years old. And for the next three years or so He selflessly walked the highways and byways of Israel teaching the people about God’s Kingdom and healing them of their ailments, even raising the dead. But He upset the religiously entrenched people of His day, to the extent that they killed Him by hanging Him on a Roman cross, one dark and dismal day, at a place called Calvary, the Place of the Skull. Now here’s the thing. He became alive again on the first Easter morning. He overcame death and is still alive today. And in John’s vision of Heaven, there he was, the only One worthy enough to open the scroll and read it.
The elder who spoke to John in his vision described Jesus as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the heir to David’s throne“. Where did that description come from? And why is it relevant? The expression, “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” would have been important to the Jews because it connected Jesus all the way back to Jacob’s prophecy in Genesis 49. A lion was considered to be the strongest of animals and was appropriate in the description because it established His victory. In a similar way, “the heir to David’s throne” confirmed Jesus’ pedigree, right in line with Old Testament prophecies. But the important factor is that Jesus was victorious because He was the only One who had conquered death. He was the only One “worthy to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
Regarding us pilgrims, we can take great encouragement through our faith in the victorious One. We are not supporting or following a lost cause, or backing a three-legged horse. We are on the winning side, watching with faith-filled, bated breath as the victory pans out before us in the age to come in Heaven. We might be going through difficult times, as many are just now. Interest rates are rising. Food and energy are getting more and more expensive. Our enemy the devil is attacking our families and churches. But these are just the troubles and trials James wrote about in his Epistle. We stand firm, secure in the knowledge that the victorious One has already claimed the victory for all eternity.
Dear Lord and Father, we’re deeply grateful for Your presence in our lives. You have truly done great things and there’s more to come. We praise and worship You today. Amen.