And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I wept much that no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to into into it. Then one of the elders said to me, “Weep not; lo, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” 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; and he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. (Rev 5:3-7)
This apocalyptic vision of John unravels a great mystery of God’s design. When John fell weeping that there was nobody worthy of opening the scroll, he was told that the “Lion” of the tribe of Judah had prevailed, overcome, and conquered and was able to open the scroll. John turned around, and what he saw was not a Lion but a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain. The Lion of the tribe of Judah had triumphed as the Lamb of God slain for the sins of all mankind. He didn’t conquer sin, the world, and the devil by legions of angels, by weapons of war, or by the power of brute strength. He conquered all by His self-sacrifice. He overcame as the Lamb of God. So, the heavenly chorus sings in great jubilation:
“Worthy art thou to take the scroll and to open its seals, for thou wast slain and by thy blood didst ransom men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and hast made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on earth.” (Rev 5:9-10)
In this Passion Week as we remember the death and resurrection of the Son of God, let us remember this fact that there is no greater power than the power of sacrifice. The sacrifice of Jesus is the basis of our victory in this world:
“they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb” (Rev 12:11)
It is also the basis of our victory over every divisive, disruptive, and destructive sin in our flesh; for, the Cross teaches us that the true conqueror is one who erases the spirit of enmity through the act of forgiveness, overcomes bitterness by the spirit of love and understanding, and brings healing to this broken world through his self-sacrifice. We are overcomers because the Lion of Judah has prevailed as the Lamb of God.