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Easter Sunday - Revelation 5

This is a sermon by Peter Birnie from the Riverside Church service on 4th April 2021.

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Rev 5 Easter morning The scroll and the Lamb

 

John 20 v 29-31 are such important verses; Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’  Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”

 

The resurrection of Jesus Christ really happened and as verse 29 says, people who believe in Jesus without having had the privilege of seeing him face to face are blessed. That’s people like us – as Jesus speaks to Thomas, he is thinking of people like us (in fact, being God he was perhaps thinking about each one of us individually as he said it). Amazing news! Because Jesus rose from the dead, blessing is on offer to anyone who would come and believe.

 

Blessing is a very bible sounding word but if someone has given you an Easter egg or Easter sweets this week, they have blessed you (perhaps ask them to open a present now?). Being blessed by people is good but being blessed by God is amazing - because God is so good and so generous He has brilliant things to give to people who believe in Jesus.

 

 

And at the end of verse 31 we see just how brilliant God’s blessing is; “these things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” The blessing that Jesus offers to anyone is ‘life in his name’, life that is eternal, life which begins here but goes on forever when everything is made new. When is everything going to be made new? It is once Jesus comes back. He rose from the dead, He is reigning now in heaven and one day he is going to return and when he returns everything bad will be judged and dealt with and everything will be made only good and right and wonderful forever, no more sin and sadness and death.  

 

We can fastforward to when this will happen by reading the last book of the bible and I am going to read Revelation chapter 5 in a moment. In this chapter, everything is nearly ready for God to get rid of all wrong and to make everything new again. But there is a problem – there is a scroll (like a book) that needs to be opened first and no one can be found who is perfect enough to open it. But then Jesus steps up, he is called the Lion of Judah but he somehow looks like a lamb that has been killed, and he is able to do it. He is worthy to open this scroll and suddenly everyone around Jesus is bowing down in front of him, worshipping him and singing a song all about how he died so that people all across the world could be washed clean by his blood and could come and enjoy the new creation forever.

Here is that moment in Revelation chapter 5;

He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. 8 And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. 9 And they sang a new song, saying:

 

‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals,
because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. 10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign[
b] on the earth.’

 

11 Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they were saying:

‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
    to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
    and honour and glory and praise!’

 

13 Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
    be praise and honour and glory and power,
for ever and ever!’ 14 The four living creatures said, ‘Amen’, and the elders fell down and worshipped.

Because Jesus died and rose again, because Easter Sunday really happened, people all across the world can rejoice and celebrate and it is right that we do just that today. Jesus washed away our sin, his blood changed his people from sinners into saints, and the empty tomb guarantees that, when one day in the future Jesus opens that scroll and makes all things new, all of his followers will get to enjoy that newness forever. If the tomb still had Jesus’ body in it we would have no hope, but because he is alive, anyone who comes to him and believes in him will be blessed forever with this eternal life.

He is risen! He is risen indeed, Hallelujah.

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