Revelation 5:1, 6a-7 - And one of the elders said to me, "Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that He can open the scroll and its seven seals." And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain ... And He went and took the scroll from the right hand of Him who was seated on the throne.
There is a scene in the book of Revelation where God is winding up the history of creation. The world is ending, stage by stage, and each stage is symbolized by the opening of a scroll that has seven seals on it. Someone has to open each seal to begin each phase of the final judgment.
But who will do this? John sees nobody fit for the job. Then one of God's servants says to him, "Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that He can open the scroll and its seven seals." Okay, so now John looks around—and what does he see? Not a lion, but a lamb—a Lamb "standing, as though it had been slain."
Now this is a strange contrast! Apparently, the Lion and the Lamb are the same person. And of course, we know who that Person is: our Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Why is He called a lion? The image goes back to Jacob, the founding father of Israel. When he was blessing his sons right before he died, he said to Judah, "Judah is a lion's cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him?" (Genesis 49:9) The picture is of a lion who has succeeded in the hunt and caught his prey. He has finished eating and is now resting.
This is a very interesting picture of Jesus! Because from one angle, it's a great description of what He did through His death and resurrection. He hunted down His prey—the devil, and all the powers of evil. He caught them and destroyed them utterly. Now He is resting after His victory. Who would dare to rebel against Him again?
So that picture focuses on Jesus' triumph through the cross. But the picture of a lamb focuses on the other aspect—on what His victory cost Him. Jesus is the Lamb that looks like it has been slain. He is the sacrifice for human sin—the One who laid down His own body to atone for our evil, and to make us clean again in the eyes of God. And He still carries those scars, even in heaven before the throne of God.
Lion of Judah, Lamb of God—both are great pictures of our Lord Jesus, of His great victory and of the love that brought Him to save us.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your fierceness in defending us and Your mercy in giving Yourself to save us. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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