READ: Proverbs 25, Luke 13, Revelation 5
THE SLAIN LAMB STANDS
Faith never denies facts. John the revelator stands in heaven and is presented with a sealed scroll which contains the end game of God (Rev. 5). Within that scroll is the solution for a world gone mad, a world polluted and poisoned by sin and rebellion. John discerns that if that scroll is opened, the denouement of history unfolds and all that is wrong with the twisted world and with fallen humanity will be redeemed. There is but one problem–no one is found worthy to open that scroll, or even look at it and so John weeps (v. 4).
It is entirely appropriate for us to weep at the world. When followers of Jesus lose the capacity to be brokenhearted over the state of fallen humanity and a wounded creation, we have lost something of the heart of God. The Jesus-hearted person is not simply the one who longs to escape a doomed planet; the Jesus-hearted person is one who longs for the restoration of all things. The effects of sin should make us mourn more than they should make us angry; we should grieve a fallen Eden. We also need to have a singular hope: the depravity of earth, the degenerate human heart has but one recourse–Jesus coming again in glory.
Jesus never fixes things in the way humans prefer. John looks around heaven and sees “a lamb standing as if slain” (v. 6). How does a slain lamb stand? How does a butchered Savior rise in triumph over the nations and become the praise of every tongue (v. 9)? God conquers death by dying, God restores life by destroying, and neither one makes sense to us. Jesus seems extreme, God seems unbalanced. Surely there could have been another way to redeem humanity. Surely the Lord could scrub creation clean without destroying it all and restarting. Humanity’s limitation is that it can only see the edges of God’s ways and character. God is so much bigger, so much better, so much purer, so much deeper than we can fathom, and His ways are not our ways. Jesus fixes things, but He does not fix them in the way we desire or even approve.
If Jesus fixes cosmic problems in surprising ways, it should come as no shock to us that He will redeem, amend, discipline, correct, sanctify, deliver, and prepare us in ways that we neither expect nor enjoy. Great indeed are His tender mercies (Psalm 119:156), but they are linked to His judgments. God goes to great lengths to drive the sin out of us. The tender mercy of Jesus judges me. It identifies all that is unholy, divides it from what is pure, and attacks it with heavenly fire. My revival comes only after repentance and the destruction of what is offensive to God. Jesus does this for the world, Jesus does this for the Church, and Jesus does this for me: He fixes things radically, finally, gloriously in His own wondrous way.