Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, . . . has triumphed. Revelation 5:5
For more than six decades, news journalist Paul Harvey was a familiar voice on American radio. He would say with a colorful flair, “You know what the news is, in a minute you’re going to hear the rest of the story.” After a brief advertisement, he would tell a little-known story of a well-known person. But by withholding until the end either the person’s name or some other key element, he delighted listeners with his dramatic pause and tagline: “And now you know . . . the rest of the story.”
The apostle John’s vision of things past and future unfolds with a similar promise. However, his story begins on a sad note. He couldn’t stop crying when he saw that no created being in heaven or on earth could explain where history is going (Revelation 4:1; 5:1–4). Then he heard a voice offering hope in the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” (v. 5). But when John looked, instead of seeing a conquering lion, he saw a lamb looking like it had been slaughtered (vv. 5–6). The unlikely sight erupted in waves of celebration around the throne of God. In three expanding choruses, twenty-four elders were joined by countless angels and then by all of heaven and earth (vv. 8–14).
Who could have imagined that a crucified Savior would be the hope of all creation, the glory of our God, and the rest of our story.
What fears and sorrows do you have that need the hope found in Jesus? How does thinking of Him as both the conquering Lion and the sacrificial Lamb help you worship Him?
Almighty God, You deserve all power, praise, and love.
Learn more about how to read the book of Revelation.
In today’s passage from John’s vision recorded in Revelation (5:1–10), we’re given a picture of the unexpected ways of God. Jesus is first described as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” (v. 5), but when John looks up, he sees not the regal figure of a lion but a mortally wounded lamb (v. 6). God’s victory was won not by the mighty lion but by the humble lamb who appeared defeated.
Both images, the lion and the lamb, are used elsewhere in Scripture to speak of God’s Messiah and the work He would do. On his deathbed, as Jacob pronounced a blessing on each of his children, he proclaimed to his son Judah that he was “a lion’s cub” from whom a ruler would come (Genesis 49:9). And John the Baptist called Jesus “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).