Sermon on Revelation 5:6,11-14
The 3rd Sunday of Easter
The Power of the Lamb
Text: Revelation 5:6,11-14
Who has power? Steve Jobs has power. His net worth is $5.5 billion. He is the CEO of one of the most influential and innovative companies in the world. When Steve Jobs dreams up a new product—an iMac, an iPod, an iPhone, or an iPad—the world completely changes. Bill Gates also has power. His net worth is $53 billion. He is the head of one of the most powerful companies in the world, one that essentially had a computer monopoly until Steve Jobs returned to Apple.
Barach Obama has power. Whether people like him or not, he is the leader of the free world simply because he is the leader of the United States. If he wants to set up a new health care bill, he simply finds the right supporters between Congress and wealthy individuals, and he makes it happen. If he, or another president, wants to invade another country to protect or establish freedom, he makes it happen. But Sheikh Mohammed prince of Dubai also has power. His net worth is around $14 billion. He is the president of the United Arab Emirates and the prince of Dubai. He has influence and control over massive oil reserves. He wanted Dubai to have a completely new part of city—a chain of islands in the middle of the sea that look like palm trees and one that even looks like a map of the world. He completely changed the ecosystem of that part of the world and did it. Now they are the self-proclaimed 8th Wonder of the World.
Tiger Woods has power. He is still in the middle of one of the largest scandals in sports history. But when Tiger decides to play in the Masters, the ratings suddenly shoot through the roof and he is the one most people are following. Michael Jordan has power. He puts his logo on a Nike product and tells kids to “Just Do It,” and kids gladly will—whatever it is. Miley Cyrus has power. She writes a song and suddenly everyone under the age of 30 is singing it. She comes out with a clothing line and every teen girl has to wear it. Actor Ashton Kutcher has power. He has 4.7 million followers on Twitter—over a million more than the president or Oprah. All he has to do is post a message with his cell phone and in 30 seconds 4.7 million people will do whatever he says.
Your boss has power. He tells you what to do. He controls your pay. He can fire you. Your banks have power. They control your spending, your borrowing, your interest rates, your retirement. The school bully has power. He can humiliate any other child and make a student feel like absolutely nothing. He can steal, he can fight, he can lie, he can cheat. He usually gets away with it.
Isn’t this world just a big search for power? Who has the most fame? Who has the most influence? Who has the most money? Who has the most fans on Facebook? This world consists of one big quest for power. So who do you really think has power? A celebrity? An athlete? A politician? How about a Lamb?
A what? A lamb? Lambs are foolish. They are literally stupid. If some lambs in the pack are running and fall right off the edge of a cliff, the others just lambs will just follow behind. Lambs are weak. They are defenseless. They are stripped bare when they are sheared, but there is nothing they can do. They are helpless and defenseless—so helpless that they are usually silent before the shearers because there is nothing they can do about it. When a predator attacks, they die. When lamb chops are desired, they die. They have no real defense. Lambs in this world epitomize a lack of power or strength or knowledge. There’s even a common idiom in our language for going into a situation senseless, helpless, and powerless—“being led like a lamb to the slaughter.” Lambs have no power.
Yet though I’m speaking about a specific Lamb, the world still sees no power. Listen to the prophet Isaiah: “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted . . . He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”
Where is the power in this Lamb, this man? We see him beaten, yet he takes no revenge. We see his back scourged and his brow bloodied, yet he makes no defense. We see this Lamb led off like a lamb to the slaughter, yet he says nothing. He is sheared of his clothing. He is nailed to a cursed cross. He dies among criminals. Where is the power in this Lamb?
But listen to Isaiah’s words which I omitted: “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Again, there seems to be no power. We see him punished. We see him laden with transgressions, or sins. We see him burdened with iniquity, or guilt. Where is the power in this Lamb? Where is the power in a Lamb that was slain?
The power is in Revelation 5:6. Listen, and look with the apostle John: “Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne.” This is no ordinary lamb. This is not a lamb sacrificed in vain. This is not a lamb that died in vain. This is not a lamb that died and was left to decay. This is a Lamb that is now alive. More than that, this is a Lamb that is now living and reigning.
This is no ordinary lamb. This Lamb is the Lamb of God. He is no ordinary man, either. This true man is also true God. Thus, when we see him beaten and battered and bloodied it is only because he did not call upon 10,000 angels to demolish his enemies. When we see him crucified and hanging between criminals it is only because restrained his unfathomable divine power. When we see him unjustly punished with the curse of the cross it is only because it was his holy will. When we see him laden with sin and burdened with guilty it is only because it was his loving mission.
This is no ordinary lamb, for the world sees no power. The world only sees blood and gore and death. The world sees no wealth, no wisdom, no strength, no honor, no glory, no praise. That is what the world sees. But that is not what we see. We see a Savior. We see God’s firstborn Son who had to come to the world we have tarnished with our wrongs. We see an innocent Lamb that had to live without sin because our lives are filled with it. We see a Lamb that became the payment for my transgressions and my iniquity. We see a Lamb that became a sacrifice to take away the sin of the world. This is no ordinary lamb, for where the world sees no power, there actually is more power than can be described.
Look closer at this Lamb. It is a Lamb “looking as if it had been slain.” He looks like he was slain. He looks like he had been wounded. He looks like he had died. But he is not dead now. He is alive. He is living. He is breathing. He is ruling. John the apostle himself testifies to the glimpse of glory he witnessed in heaven: “Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, number thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang, ‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!’ Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!’ The four living creatures said, ‘Amen,’ and the elders fell down and worshiped.”
This is no ordinary lamb. This Lamb does have power. This Lamb cried out “It is finished.” This Lamb crushed the head of Satan. This Lamb washed away sin in his own blood. This lamb destroyed death. This Lamb was dead but is now alive. This Lamb now sits on his throne at the right hand of God and is continually praised by all believers and all angels. This Lamb does have power, for this is the Lamb is our God. This Lamb does have power, for this Lamb of God is our Savior.
We are also lambs. We are lambs that have no power. For we all, like sheep, have gone astray. We are lambs that are as foolish, helpless, and defenseless as real animal lambs. We fall into temptation. We commit the same sins day after day. We are led astray. We go our own ways. We fall prey to Satan who prowls around like a roaring lion. We are lambs with now power. Further, few or even none of us have any power by worldly standards. We don’t have fame, riches, influence, or glory.
But we, too, are paradoxical lambs. While it appears we have no power—no power in this world and no power over this world both physically and spiritually—we in reality have more power than this world could fathom. For we lambs have been washed in the blood of the Lamb. Our sins have been removed. Our guilt has been erased. Death is but a sleep as eternal life awaits.
You see, we are no ordinary lambs. We have the power of God, for we are his children. We are recipients of forgiveness, which is his free gift. We are inheritors of heaven, where soon we will dwell in the house of the Lord and see the Lamb himself as he rules on his throne.
Concl. Who has power? Barack Obama? Bill Gates? Oprah? Brad Pitt? Paris Hilton? Tiger Woods? None of them. They have nothing. From what I understand of their beliefs, they have less than nothing.
No, a Lamb has power. No ordinary lamb, though. The Lamb of God. He was humiliated, but now he is exalted. He was dead, but now he is alive. And because that Lamb lives, we lambs will live. We will live with him. We will praise him. We will fall at his feet and join the myriad of saints and angels to endlessly sing, “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” He has power. We have power.
Indeed, This is the feast of victory for our God, Alleluia!
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