Friday, April 27, 2012

Before the Throne of God Above...

The One on the throne sits with a scroll in His right hand. It has writing on it, on the front and back. It is perfectly sealed, seven times to be exact, so that no one may open it until the time appointed by the enthroned One. A mighty angel was near and he proclaimed with a booming, intimidating voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And there was no one with the audacity and confidence to reply. No one. No one in all of heaven or earth. No immortal angel, no innocent dove. No patriarch, none of David’s mighty men. No apostle or early-church martyr. No one. 
Overwhelmed, John could not help but weep...loudly. This is not the weeping of a wimpy child. This is the deep sobbing of a disciple of Jesus Himself, in fact, the beloved disciple. A pillar of the Church, a man who knew real heartache: John had a front row seat to the crucifixion, he endured Nero’s persecution, he saw his fellow apostles martyred at young ages, he knew real heart-pain. He is a veteran, now a man well-advanced in age. But at this he wept and he wept. Uncontrollable weeping.
As John stood weeping because no one was found worthy to open the scroll, an elder came to him and said, “Weep. No. More. BEHOLD! The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered!” There is Hope. 
And John turns, with the anticipation of a vision of regal glory and majestic beauty, of a burst of purple and gold radiating like the Sun, of the Mighty rescue of God. But there stood a lamb, and not just a lamb, a lamb standing as though it had been slain. The meekest of all God’s creation, standing there, bloody and unthreatening. A vision of blood-dried red and dingy-gray wool, the humble sacrifice with nothing signifying even the smallest shred of authority.
But this was the Lamb. This Lamb confidently marches up to the throne and snatches up the scroll and opens its seals, each and every one. And as he opens the scroll, a wondrous sense of power sweeps the scene, a force none could resist. Everyone falls down in awe. This was no ordinary lamb, this was the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world and He walks boldly before the throne of God because sin and death have no claim on Him, the powers of darkness cannot accuse Him. This is Jesus, the radiance of the glory of God, the exact imprint of His nature and He upholds the universe by the word of His power. He stands as a fierce and roaring Lamb and a meek and lowly Lion. He is the inaugurator of the Kingdom of God, where the lion and the lamb are at peace, they lie down together, because the full fury of the wrath of God has been absorbed and satisfied by the embodied presence of the love of God, namely Jesus of Nazareth. 
And as this Lamb opens the scroll, all of redemptive history is revealed. The wisdom and knowledge of God is manifest. All of creation ceases its groaning, it is loosed from its bondage to corruption, it has entered into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. The sons of God are revealed. Creation is no longer in the pains of childbirth, the child has come and she is beautiful, a radiant Bride for the King. 
“And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom of priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
And there appears around the throne a host of angels, innumerable millions and they yell, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” And everyone agrees and cries out in doxological praise, “To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever.” Let it be. Amen.