Read This Week: Revelation 5
And they sang a new song: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals because you were slain, and with your blood, you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them a kingdom and priests to serve our God.” – Revelation 5:9-10 NIV.
Revelation 5 gives us one inspiring and majestic moment after another. It begins with the picture of God holding a scroll sealed seven times. John sees writing on both sides and understands what is inside is done and final. He becomes emotional at the angel’s question of who is worthy to open the scroll. He knows that no one in Heaven or on earth is worthy enough, and his tears come from realizing that God’s ultimate plan of redemption for the world and all people would not be complete unless the scrolls open. Then John’s weeping turns to a celebration at the pronouncement that the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals (v.5).
Jesus, with his many names and titles, is the Deliverer. He is the only One worthy to stand at the center of the throne, take the scroll from the hand of God and open it for all time. Jesus Christ is the Deliverer because He is the only One who meets all the characteristics and qualifications to be so. The Deliverer had to be in the lineage of David (v.5), willing to deliver (v.9), and able to deliver (v.9). As John wrote in his gospel (1:14), Jesus became flesh and lived among us and out of his grace, sovereignty, and amazing love willingly laid down his life. And only His shed blood can redeem, restore, and save.
Imagine how John felt to write those words and then see them playing out in the heavenly place before his eyes. It had to incite a measure of peace and spiritual fulfillment that he had never experienced, even when he walked with Jesus on earth. It had to cause him to worship the Lord as his Deliverer like never before. And worship breaks out three times in this chapter as the crowds of Heaven praise and revere Christ. The first time of worship is led by the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders in verses 9-10:
You are worthy of taking the scroll and opening its seals because you were slain, and with your blood, you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.
Then they are joined by a pretty incredible choir made up of thousands upon thousands and ten thousand times ten thousand angels who were singing this at the top of their majestic voices in verse 12:
Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!
Finally, every creature in Heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea came together and sang with everything that was within them in verse 13:
To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, forever and ever!
It was an incredible sequence of worship of the Deliverer, who He is, and what He has done and will do. When Jesus opened the scroll, the crying turned to praise and worship. The same is true for us. When we realize that Jesus is our Redeemer, Rescuer, and Deliverer for eternity, we go from broken to whole, sad to glad, and spontaneous worship breaks out in our hearts and lives. Like John and all of those in the heavenly realm, recognizing how Christ has set us free takes us from depths of despair to the heights of eternal joy.