Behind John stood a roaring Lion, while in front of him stood a butchered Lamb with a bloody white coat. This is what he said while he was “in the Spirit” (Rev. 1:10), receiving the Revelation of Jesus Christ: “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, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth” (Rev. 5:5-6). How can Jesus be both a sovereign Lion and a slaughtered Lamb? How can Christ be both the Lord and lowly?
Because He earned the right to be the triumphal Lion by first becoming a humble Lamb. This is the great paradox of Christ: He was brought low in humiliation in order to be raised to the highest position of supremacy in the universe. He is exalted because He became a lowly man. He is seated on a throne because He was nailed to a cross. He became the Lord of life by submitting to the curse of death.
That is why Paul said, “[Jesus], though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:6-11).
Interestingly, one of John’s final glimpses of Jesus in Revelation is of a Lamb ruling and reigning. He described one scene like this, “For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Rev. 7:17). The slaughtered Lamb rules as the sovereign Lord. And He forgives all of those who bow to Him in repentance and faith: “Behold, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). It is no wonder Matthew Bridges (1800-1894) penned these words in the Christ-exalting hymn, Crown Him with Many Crowns:
“Crown him with many crowns,
the Lamb upon his throne.
Hark! how the heavenly anthem drowns
all music but its own.
Awake, my soul, and sing
of him who died for thee,
and hail him as thy matchless king
through all eternity.”
Bible Gleanings is a widely-read weekend devotional column, written for the Murray Ledger & Times in Calloway County, Kentucky.
Brandon is the founder and main contributor to Brandon’s Desk, the blog with biblical resources from his ministry. He is proud to be the pastor of the family of believers at Locust Grove Baptist Church in Murray, Kentucky. He and his wife Dakota live there with their three dogs, Susie (Jack Russell), Aries (English Shepherd), and Dot (Bluetick Beagle).
For more devotional entries like this, check out Brandon’s latest book, Bible Gleanings Volume II, which features 100 daily devotionals gleaned from God’s word: