Devotional: June 22, 2021
Then I saw in the right hand of the one seated on the throne a scroll written on the inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals; 2and I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?’ 3And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it. 4And I began to weep bitterly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. 5Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep. See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.’
Revelation 5: 1-5 NRSV
Filled with symbolism, the Book of Revelation can be difficult to understand. Interpreters sometimes get bogged down in trying to pin down exactly what every detail in the book means. However, the overall message of the book is clear. Christ wins the victory over sin.
Here in chapter five, there is a scroll which needs to be opened. It is sealed, and in the right hand of the one who sits on the throne (God the Father). The scroll is mysterious. Some believe it to be the Old Testament, or the Book of Revelation itself. The best guess is that it is God’s final plan for the world, as Roman last wills and testaments were also sealed with seven seals. While we are unsure of the exact nature of the scroll, there is no doubt about the problem it presents: no creature in heaven, or upon the earth is worthy to open this scroll.
This inability to read the scroll, or to find someone to open the scroll causes the author to weep bitterly. However, an angel comes and brings news that the Lion of Judah can open the scroll.
The Lion of Judah is Jesus Christ, and this passage is making the point that He is absolutely unique. That central point is one this letter has in common with the Gospels. The sealed tomb of Christ is similar to the scroll with the seven seals. And who is the only one able to open both the tomb, and the scroll? Jesus Christ. It is only through Jesus Christ that we are saved. Through the one who was a descendant of King David (out of the Root of Jesse, David’s father), the scroll is opened. Heaven is opened to us, and the blessings of eternal life.
Jesus is the sole key to salvation. He is the only one who can wipe away our bitter tears, and clothe us with joy. With this knowledge and understanding, we are directed to the path that Jesus set before us. We need to follow that path, and to live our lives as He has instructed us. When the day comes, may all of our names be written on the scroll, and in the Book of Life. Rejoice in this truth today!
Our King who sits on the throne,
We know that without Your Son, we are lost. I know that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Therefore, I praise Him, knowing that nothing: no seals, not even death itself, can separate me from His love. Thank you for sending Him as the Lion of Judah, who unlocks Your plan for my salvation. I pray this prayer in His Holy name. Amen.