April 10 – Devotion Sharing (Revelation 5)

Submitted by Naomi L. Gracepoint Berkeley Church

Revelation 5:1-14

  • Reflect on the scene depicted here.

“Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scrolls?”, “no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth”, “the Lion of the tribe of Judah has triumphed.  He is able to open the scroll.”

The scroll could not be opened by anyone in heaven or on earth or under the earth – only by Jesus, the Lion of Judah, the Root of David.  He was found worthy to open it because he has triumphed.  Jesus’ triumph over sin and death allowed the scroll to be opened and known.  Though his death and resurrection, because he was slain, he purchased men for God and that made him worthy to open the scroll.  This reaffirms that it’s not by my righteousness or my notion of goodness, but through Jesus’ blood alone that I can be purchased for God and know God.

“I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy.”

The response “I wept and I wept” gives insight into the heart of John.  He saw this scroll that was from God, that contained the word of God, but given that there was no one who was worthy to open it – he wept and wept.  His response to not being able to hear the word of God was to weep and grieve.  That much he longed for the word of God, saw its precious worth.  How much can I identify with this kind of response?  Do I long for the precious words of God in my life?

“And they sang a new song…  with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.  You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on earth.”

Previously, the very ones who were found unworthy of opening the scroll now have this lofty calling for their lives – to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, to reign on earth.  How is new song possible in my life?  It’s through Jesus who has made everything new.  Through his blood, he purchased me for God and that purchase has elevated me from being one who was unworthy to reigning on earth as kingdom and priests to serve God.

“Every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them saying…”  “All the elders fell down and worshipped.”

This is the ultimate picture of what is rightfully due to Jesus.  This awesome picture of every creature that praised him, that fell down and worshipped him.  When I insist on my own way, when I fight against the praise and honor and glory and power that is due him, I am not choosing another reality or a viable option to live with praise and worship for something else, someone else.  It would be utter folly to fight against this reality, to keep on insisting on my own way.  Because despite what I choose, the reality that Jesus alone will be honored and worshipped.  So, I can choose this day to submit myself to the authority and power of Jesus and be found thoroughly enveloped in this glorious scene of worshipping Jesus.  Being lost in worship of Jesus – being lost in awe of his glory and honor and power – because he alone is worthy, he triumphed over sin and death, through his blood, he purchased me and calls me to live with a new song.

  • What does this text reveal about Jesus, about Christians, about prayer, and about the nature of power?

Because he was slain, Jesus was found to be worthy of opening the scroll.  There are many characteristics of Jesus I can admire and praise him for – he is the sinless son of God who came down to be with us, to love us.  But, the central truth about Jesus is that he was slain to make himself worthy of opening the scroll, to purchase my blood for God, to call me to a life of serving him, to give me a new song of praise and worship of him.

This must be the central truth in my life as well – that I was once unworthy, that I was hopelessly and helplessly lost in my sin, that I could never know God’s word or truth in my life – but Jesus has changed all that through his death and resurrection.  Often, in my pride, I find myself trying to prove my worthiness apart from Jesus’ blood.  I try to do good by my effort, I try to put up an image of a person that’s got it together, has learned from past mistakes, has changed and grown for the better.  I dismiss incidences where my selfishness or temper or grumbling heart is revealed as being out of the norm.  In moments of clarity and honesty, I readily see how I am so much a product of sin:  broken by the sins done unto me, broken by sins I have perpetuated unto others.  In these moments, I experience the wonder of what Jesus did, I experience the desire of being completely lost and captivated in praise and worship of Him.

Christians are called to be kingdom and priests to serve our God.  And we are to reign on earth.  Our lot has changed from being called unworthy to being called kingdom and priests, being a part of this awesome chorus of every creature praising and worshipping God and Jesus – the lamb that was slain.  This was possible only through Jesus’ blood that purchased me for God.

This is an amazing truth – that I am called to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God.  The God of creation, the God over all universe – I am to serve him.  The amazing thing is that I am called to not only serve him, but to reign on earth.  It’s not that God says now that I’ve acknowledged my sinfulness and unworthiness, that I ought to live in shame and guilt – to spend the rest of my days in deserved lowliness.  But, he elevates me to reign on earth as his kingdom and priests.  He gives me a mission, he gives me position and responsibility.

Prayers are precious to God – they were held in golden bowls and were incense.  The character of incense is that it’s aroma is penetrating and it’s presence is easily detected.  Our prayers are constantly before God, it’s pervasive in all that happens in heaven.  They do not fall on deaf ears, or are cast away – but they held precious by him.  This give me confidence to pray without ceasing.  To pray for situations in my life that seem impossible, situations that cause anguish.

Submitted by Vanessa O. Gracepoint Berkeley Church

  • Reflect on the scene depicted here.

The scene depicted here is ultimately of triumph.  The text says there was no one who was worthy to open the scroll to make the announcement of the end of times, but that the only one worthy to open, touch or even look inside the scroll was The Lamb that was slain–Jesus.

It’s an amazing picture of Jesus’ majesty and God’s ultimate victory and of Jesus dying on the cross to purchase men for God.  It’s a scene that leaves one speechless and in awe because it’s a depiction of that final day when God’s children will be claimed to him.

It’s also a picture that leaves one with a sense of proper fear of God to know that on that day, God’s rightful judgment on mankind will come to fruition.  On that day, Jesus will reveal who will be welcomed into the kingdom and who will not enter into His glorious presence.  It’s a scary scene, but ultimate it’s leaves me with a sense that God is just, God will reward those who were faithful to Him, that our labor, struggles, pain and suffering here on this hearth will all come to an end and we will be able to be in the presence of the most Holy one who purchased ME to Him.

For me this is a beautiful picture of when I get to heaven this is what I will be doing; worshiping the lamb that was slain.  When I get to heaven I will be surrounding God in proper worship with people form every tribe and language and nations–we will be one people.  The focus will be on God, my attention and my all will be directed towards God.

  • What does this text reveal about Jesus, about Christians, about prayer, and about the nature of power?

One thing this text reveals about Jesus is his triumph.  He walks in ‘looking as if [he] had been slain’ to make this final announcement. It shows how only through Jesus, through his sacrifice on the cross can anyone even have the chance to enter into the presence of God. It ultimately reveals that only he had the power to break us away from sin and only through him do we even have the chance to enter into the glorious presence of God.  This means that the nature of power is not what this world thinks. The world thinks that having power is having the ability to control people, to have some title, some high position in this world – but Jesus says no, true power comes from the one who can set us free from sin. True power is in Jesus who was able to purchase me into the kingdom of God.

Knowing this, then the proper response for me as a Christian is that I have to have this kind of reverence, worship and awe of the power of Jesus.  My only response should be that I worship him not only with my words, the songs I sing, but how I live my life. It means that as a follower, in light of that ultimate sacrifice, I need to surrender my life to God, and renounce any kind of selfish living, renounce saving my life and allowing my life to be like that seed that falls to the ground and dies so that others can enter into this same glorious presence. I know that living this kind of life is not going to be easy, because I’ve built so many protective walls around my life, I’m so practiced at being selfish, so I need to come before God in prayer. I need to ask God to daily help me live this life knowing that my prayers are being lifted up on my behalf in heaven.

  • Spend some time in personal worship directing words of adoration to the Lamb, using the words of this text.

 Lord, you are worthy of all my praise. You are the one who purchased me to God with your blood so that I would be able to come into your glorious presence.  Lord, who am I that I would be able to even come before you, who am I that I can even dare to stand before your Holy presence?  Yet you call me your own, you welcome me into your kingdom you call me your daughter, call me your own.

You are the one who sits on the throne, the rightful judge of my life and you deserve all my worship and praise.  You deserve honor and glory.  Lord, you triumphed, you sacrificed so that I would be able to enter into your kingdom. Lord, thank you for that sacrifice. I know I don’t deserve any of it, but because of your great love and mercy for me I am able to stand and sing praises to the Lamb who was slain, the Lamb who is worthy to open the scroll and bring all people to yourself.  In awe and wonder of what you’ve done I come before you, thanking you once again for the new life I am able to have in you.

Submitted by Peter K. Gracepoint Berkeley Church

  • What does this text reveal about Jesus, about Christians, about prayer, and about the nature of power?

The text reveals that Jesus has ultimate power and authority to close the history and judge this world.  In the beginning of the story John the author was weeping because he thought that there is no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it.  One of the elders comforted him by revealing a Lamb who was slain and worthy to break it open.   The Lamb took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne.  Four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb and sang a new song that he is worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals.  The Lamb Jesus Christ is the only one who can take the scroll and judge this world.  He is worthy to do so because he completely trusted and obeyed Father’s command of taking up the cross.  He went though mocking, beating, scoffing, and suffering to take up the cross which is the only way to defeat the enemy of death and open a door for people to be reconciled with God.  After he accomplished his mission, he was resurrected and seated on the throne.  Now he has power and authority to judge this world and people.

He is worthy of praise and worship from all creatures, especially for those who believe in him.  He is God who was in the beginning of this world and created all things.  However, he lowered himself to come to this world to be with us.  He was innocent and did now know any sin, but he decided to take up the cross.  He was crucified on the cross so that our sin can be forgiven and our relationships with God can be restored.  Now he is with the Father in heaven and wants all the lost souls to come back to him.  As I think about what he has done to this world and to me, it is so right that all creatures should give praise, honor, glory and worship to him.  He is so worthy to receive all of these.  His sacrifice and love for people are incomparable to anything in this world.   He died for us while we are still sinners.   His crucifixion on the cross should be eternally praised and remembered in everyone’s heart.  Without his death on the cross, we all are condemned to death due to our sin.  Only through the cross, our penalty for sin is paid, and now we can have relationships with God and call Him as our heavenly father.   He triumphed the death:  this is the great hope in this world.  He opened the door for people to be reconciled with God again.  I see that the picture of all creatures sing a song of praise and worship with tears flowing from their eyes with joy and gratitude of salvation.

The text reveals about how Christians were saved through the blood of Jesus Christ. “Because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.” We are purchased for the price of Jesus’ blood which means his life.  This much we are considered precious to God.  He paid his own life to save us from sin.  Sometimes I have a struggle of significance about myself.   I compare myself with peers and others and get into self-pity that I feel insignificant and not worthy.  I wish I could be more competent so that I can gain more attention from leaders and other people in the church.  Sometimes I am not satisfied with roles and responsibilities given to me and desire for bigger and more visible roles in the church to gain significance and recognition from people.  However, the Bible reminds me again and again that I am purchased with a life of Jesus Christ.  God gave himself and was crucified to save me.  This message really humbles me and makes me repent that I tried to find significance from people.  I realize how precious I am to God regardless what kind of roles and responsibilities I am given in the church.  This brings me right perspective about finding significance in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

Another important truth is that He is concerned with people from all over the world who have different nations, languages and tribes.  We all are purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ.  God’s heart is truly for this world as He gave us great commission to go to all over the world.  There will be numerous people who are saved and worship God together in the heaven.  When I think about our church, I see glimpse of this picture.  Regardless our different backgrounds, there is one common factor that we are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ.  This brings us together and worships God with one heart.

This text also reveals that there will be rewards for those who are saved and serve God faithfully.  They will be given to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God.  They will reign on the earth.   Jesus promises us that in heavens there will be rewards for those who have believed and served him faithfully.   Christianity is about surrendering and giving up things in the world and looking forward to what God has prepared for us.   We should give up our ambition, comfort, wealth and money for God in this world, but anticipate in heavenly rewards.   Even in this world we experience genuine loving relationships in our church which we received as a reward.  We experience true meaning and purpose in our lives.  We witness that people find hope and joy and get transformed with love.  Even this small glimpse of God reward through our church is so overwhelming and awesome.  When I think about rewards in heaven that God promised, this must be truly great and awesome.

Each one of the elders had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.   The elders were sitting on the thrones around the throne where the heavenly Father was sitting.  This symbolizes God closely listening to our prayers all the time.  There are times when I doubt if God listens to my prayers when prayers don’t get answered.  However, today’s text clearly shows how God listens to our prayers all the time.

True nature of power is to believe in Jesus. He has power and authority to judge this world.  This has eternal impact and consequences.   This has many implications in my life.   I should fear God and live faithfully based on the words and commands of Go because His judgment has an eternal impact which can be never reversed.   Therefore, I should fear God and live by the word of God faithfully.

  • Please write out a prayer of commitment or confession either based on today’s text or upon reflection over recent events in your life.

Heavenly father, thank you for revealing me the picture of heaven where Christ sits on the throne and receives worship from us.  Truly Jesus Christ the Lamb is worthy of our praise, worship, honor and glory.   You are God and the Creator but came to this world to be with us.  Though you are sinless, you trusted and obeyed heavenly Father and took up the cross for my sin.  I realized how precious your sacrifice on the cross is for me and all the believers in this world once again.   You are truly worthy of becoming the judge of this world.   I pray that I would live out my life to fear God and serve You faithfully based on the word of God.  I look forward to being in a heaven worshipping with great joy and eternal gratitude with many fellow brothers and sisters from all over the world.  Until that day, I commit myself to serve You and your church faithfully and carry out the vision of great commission in my life.  Amen.

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