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.”
One of the elders in heaven said to John that he did not have to weep. No, there was hope. The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, this one had conquered. Who is this person? It is God’s promised one. It is the one that we saw promised in Genesis 49 and Isaiah 11. It is the Messiah.
In the Old Testament, the people were looking for a strong lion, a conquering king, to come and fulfill God’s promises. They were looking for a military marvel to conquer the world, put down the rebellious nations, and set up the throne of David’s kingdom forever. Here, as John observes the unfolding of God’s eternal plan, the elder tells John that this plan will be accomplished. God’s plan will not fail. The Messiah, the Christ, the promised one, he has conquered. He is the Lion of Judah and the descendant of David. He has done what no angel and no man could have ever done.
6 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. 7 And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.
John looks, his eyes searching for this powerful, conquering lion. He sees a lamb; not just any lamb, a lamb that had been slain. This was not just a slain lamb, it was a slain lamb who was standing again. What a mystery.
Our God does what nobody could have ever dreamed. Instead of sending a conquering king to put down the nations, God sent his very own Son, God in flesh, to rescue the nations. Instead of conquering by his might, God’s Son, the Lord Jesus, laid down his life like a sacrificial lamb. Nobody saw this coming, even though God promised it through his prophets.
Isaiah 53:5 (ESV)
But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.
Yes, God would accomplish his will, but not by first conquering with power. Jesus went to the cross and took upon himself the guilt for all of the sins of all of the people who would ever become children of God. Now, instead of a physical nation of Israel conquering the world through military power as the Old Testament Jews expected, God was building a spiritual nation of his very own children from every nation on the face of the earth. Jesus did far more than anybody had ever imagined possible, but he did so through his death and resurrection.
Jesus died to pay for the sins of all who would believe in him. Jesus rose to life again, proving that he had totally conquered death and the grave. He, even in his resurrection body, still bears the marks of the cross—John could see the Lamb had been slain. Yet he stands victorious. Jesus is alive. His work is done. He has conquered the sin of humanity by his sacrifice. All praise be to this glorious Savior.