Exulting in Diverse Excellencies

And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals” (Revelation 5:5).

Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”
(Revelation 5:11-12)

Jesus is a stumbling block.  Secularists and liberals might take him if he were a Lamb. Muslims might love him if he were a Lion. But neither side will worship Jesus Christ as both.

All who would belong to Jesus must worship him as a Lamb. But not an ordinary lamb, a lamb that has been slain. Our Lord is the suffering servant depicted in Isaiah 53. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. He was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our iniquities. Jesus Christ still bears the scars that Justice gave, just as the exalted Lamb in John’s vision looks as if he had been slain.

But there is more to this Lamb than just welts and wounds.  This is not a weak sheep.  He has seven horns–symbolic of strength, honor, and rule–and seven eyes which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.  The Lamb who was slain is also a Lion, powerful and wise, omnipotent and omniscient.  He alone is worthy to approach the throne, take the scroll and break its seals.

Our Duty of Delight

It is the duty, therefore, of every believer to exult in the diverse excellencies of Christ.

If you are particularly drawn to Jesus’ strength, his unyielding commitment to the word of God, and his unspeakable power, then take time this week to meditate on Jesus’ mercy, his identification with outcasts, and his unspeakable suffering.

And if you are drawn to Jesus as your best friend, confidant, and comforter, be sure this week to worship Christ as your King, Lord, and Righteous Judge.

A God that is only a lion or only a lamb is only half the real God.

We hurt and suffer, so we need more than a King to rule over us.  But we also lack wisdom and direction, so we need more than a tender hand to comfort us.

We sin, so we need a Lamb to bear the guilt we feel and deserve.  But we also struggle, so we need a Lion who can devour the evil that works in us and the evil that works against us.

What good is a lion-like God if he doesn’t take care of sin and if he rules by his roar alone? And what good is a lamb-like God if he doesn’t triumph over suffering and deal with the wrongs in the universe? We need a God strong and tender, crushed and crushing, one who is unfailingly just and, at the same time, the justifier of the ungodly.

Jesus is calling.  Do you hear him?  There is no voice like his.  Because only in Jesus Christ will you find a God of such diverse excellencies, a God of conquering power and unmatched condescension, a God who growls and groans, a God who is a strong Lion and a slain Lamb.