“WORTHY IS THE LAMB”
Text: Revelation 5
Sunday May 1, 2022 – Easter 3
Trinity – Creston/Mt. Ayr
Grace, mercy, and peace is yours from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
Our text for this Third Sunday of Easter Sunday is from Revelation 5.
Let Us Pray: Dearest Jesus, send your Holy Spirit to remind us that it is you the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world the makes each of us and our works pleasing to you. Amen.
Dear Fellow Redeemed in Christ:
Dear friends in Christ! What a sight! The unusual Book of Revelation shows a grand event, full of strange creatures and odd people, and all of it revolving around a Lamb.
A Lamb who looks like he was slain comes on the scene, takes a scroll, and everyone freaks out in a good way because this slain Lamb was worthy to do it! And that’s it! That’s today’s text!
Yet dear friends, there is always more to the Book of Revelation. That’s because Revelation is a symbolic book. It’s not meant to be read literally, like a newspaper. Rather, Revelation is meant to be read as multiple descriptions of Jesus and his Church, both in the world now and in judgment on the Last Day.
So whenever you read Revelation, you always have to go back to the life and words of Jesus, to the Old Testament Scriptures, and to the life of the Church.
Let us consider the Lamb. “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain” (v 12). The slain Lamb lives. In his hand is the fate of the world. This Lamb is Jesus, “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29). He alone is worthy.
That also means you and I are not worthy. You and I are not, for only Jesus is. Only Jesus has lived the praiseworthy life. He is the one who has no need to move on from past actions.
He is the only one who has no secrets to keep. For Jesus lived perfectly under God’s Law, having that blessed life that knows no shame or regret. And you have not. I have not. The world has not.
But this is something you and I don’t like to hear. Because if you are not worthy, what does that say about all of your accomplishments? What does that say about the things you did in life that you were the most proud of? Don’t these account for anything?
What about times you were selfless and giving, times you went out of your way to help another person? What about times you stood for a good and noble cause instead of being silent?
What about the times you gave helpful advice that pointed someone in a good direction? That doesn’t make you worthy?
No, it does not. Works do not make the person worthy. And that’s a problem, because all people are sinful by nature, “and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Eph 2:3). All people are tainted in their inmost being.
Consider your own life. Are you also selfish at times, lustful, disobedient to authorities, unjustly angry, bitter in heart, covetous, neglectful of God’s Word and prayer, self-idolizing?
Something for every one of us in those traps, right? Because if you are any of this, then all of this wickedness also spills over into your words and actions and contaminates them too. Even your good works are contaminated.
Even if a sinner were to do something great and noble in the eyes of the world, like curing cancer or giving millions of dollars away in scholarships, it would not make the person worthy before God!
Because of your own personal unworthiness as a sinner, your works are unworthy. Because you are contaminated by sin in your nature, even the “good” works that come from this nature are likewise contaminated.
By nature and by action, you cannot be made worthy before God.
Works do not make the person worthy. It’s actually the other way around. The “Person” makes the works worthy. If someone is righteous, pure, just, spiritually clean, wholesome, and good, that Person’s works will be the same.
That Person’s worthiness makes his works worthy, even if it’s something simple and mundane, like swatting a fly or buying groceries. For these works flow out from a pure source, just like pure spring water comes from a pure source in the mountains. So you see that where the Person is good and pure, there his works are too.
Who is that Person? Jesus.
Jesus alone is worthy. As true God and true man, Jesus is clean, good, and pure by nature. From birth, Jesus alone is innocent and clean.
Likewise, Jesus alone lived a life worthy of God under the Ten Commandments. He alone is righteous.
Therefore, because Jesus alone is worthy, he alone is the perfect sacrifice for sinners. He is the Lamb who was slain on the cross to save sinners.
Laying down his perfect life, Jesus can pay the price for all sins and all sinners.
Yet just as the Lamb in our text is living, so is Jesus. Just as the Lamb who was slain now comes back and lives, so Jesus has risen from the dead. He is the living Lamb who once was slain.
Because Jesus himself is worthy, so his works also are worthy. His death therefore is worthy—worthy to reverse the curse and to purify those contaminated by sin. His death is worthy to pay the price of the sins of the world.
And his resurrection is worthy to end death forever. Since Jesus is the righteous Son of God made man, all of his works are worthy. All of his words are worthy. Even the ones that may not seem that important or interesting. And the same thing spills out and applies to us too. That’s because
Works Do Not Make the Person Worthy, but the Person(Jesus) Makes the Works Worthy.
The good thing about Jesus is that this is all for you. This is all one big worthy gift, for the sinful unworthy. You who were not worthy in yourself are now declared worthy by the Lamb’s Word.
That official Word proclaims you righteous, that your sins, which are so inherent in you, are not charged against you. The Lamb’s Word declares that his blood is on your head, that this blood might cleanse and restore you, making you worthy only because of Jesus and his merits.
You are worthy where you trust in Jesus, because his worthiness is transferred to you.
Therefore, through faith in Jesus, your works are made worthy as well. Your nature is transcended. Now you live, move, and have your being grounded in the forgiveness of sins and the blood of Jesus.
So your parenting is made worthy, even when there are bumps along the way. Your job is made worthy, spiritual, even, regardless of whether it seems as if you’re doing anything remotely worthy or spiritual.
Your activities and roles as a son, daughter, student, teammate etc, are made worthy.
Because the believer himself is sanctified, then farming, nursing, teaching, banking, janitoring, trash compacting, changing messy diapers, or being the fry guy at the local fast-food restaurant is made worthy.
And these acts are made into a high, holy spiritual sacrifice by a kingdom of priests(each of you), because of the faithfulness of the people doing it. By the forgiveness of sins and the new life of faith, you are declared worthy, and so your works are as well.
Because of this, dear friends, let us rejoice in the worthiness of the Lamb. Let us join the countless numbers who sing the new song of salvation.
Let us join our voices to theirs—who join us likewise in singing the Lamb’s praises here as we gather at church. We may not hear them.
We may not see them. But the Church Triumphant, all who died in saving faith, all angels and archangels, join us in our church service.
They join their unheard voices to ours in praise of the Lamb, who is worthy. And one day, we will join them, crying out with them the same song they cried out with us: “To him . . . be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever” (v 13). Amen.
The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the true faith in Christ until life everlasting. Amen.