SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- John’s vision of heaven continues as God presents a scroll with seven seals.
- Scrolls were made of thin layers of papyrus, which is a reed-like plant that commonly grows along the banks of the Nile River. Thin, inch-wide strips were aligned and woven to create a durable writing surface. These were often rolled up for transportation or storage and important ones would have several wax seals. Only the proper person, in the presence of witnesses, could open the document.
- No one is worthy of opening the scroll until a lamb comes forward, who looks as if it had been slain. This creature symbolizes Jesus after his crucifixion and is worshiped by everyone in heaven as well as everything on earth.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- In the Old Testament, a lamb could be sacrificed in place of people who deserved punishment for their sins, in this way removing their sins. (This would be called an atoning sacrifice.) In the New Testament, in John 1:29, John the Baptist points people to Jesus, saying, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!" Here in Revelation, we again see that Jesus is our lamb who was sacrificed for our sins so we could be free of condemnation.
- A lamb who looks as if it had been slain would seem to be an object of pity, but it is clear to everyone in this scene from Revelation that this lamb is an object of worship. Everyone falls down in reverence and declare that only he is worthy.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- When is the last time you thanked Jesus for being your atoning sacrifice? How often do you think about how bad a situation your sin had put you in, and that it's only because of Jesus and his willingness to die for you that your destiny could be changed?
- When is the last time you really worshipped Jesus? He is worthy of your worship. When you go to church and sing, it's not just singing songs, the idea is that we would worship Jesus from our hearts. When you pray on your own, Jesus deserves you to worship him with all you are. In the rest of your life, you need to worship Jesus with all you have.