The apostle John shows us a vision in Revelation 5.
There is a Lamb standing as though it has been slain. It has seven horns and seven eyes — eyes which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. It goes forward and takes a scroll from the right hand of him who is seated on the throne. And when this happens, in that moment, four living creatures and twenty-four elders fall down before the Lamb. They are each holding harps, and also bowls of incense that represent the prayers of the saints. They all fall down, and then they begin to sing,
Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:9–10)
Then, from around the throne and the sound of these voices comes the sound of other voices. Angels start singing. Myriads and myriads of angels. Thousands of thousands of angels. They are all singing now, loudly, powerfully, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:12).
And then, beyond the four creatures and the elders and the angels, every single creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea exclaims, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13).
The scene is too much for us. It is so holy, so deep, that it feels almost strange to imagine such through the black ink of English letters on paper. But we do. We can.
We can read John’s vision. He wrote it down for us so that we would read it. He wants us to see what he saw. And when we do, when we read these words, there are two central questions we must face. There are two things we must encounter before we turn to the next chapter.
- Did you see what this says about Jesus?
- Do you believe that he is real?
The Need to See
Did you see it? I don’t mean whether you read the words, or even if you imagined the scene. Did you see what it says about Jesus? That there is one worthy — the Lion of Judah, the Root of David (Revelation 5:5). That he was slain, and that by his blood he ransomed a people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation (Revelation 5:9). That the one who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood has also made us a kingdom and priests to our God (Revelation 5:10; 1:5). Do you see the honor given him? That he is worthy to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing (Revelation 5:12). That to him belongs blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever (Revelation 5:13). Did you see that?
Maybe you did. I hope you did. But now there is the second question. Do you believe it? Do you believe that the Jesus described in these wonderful words is real?
Apocalyptic genre aside, incredible vision put on hold, do you believe that the Jesus here referred to is a real person? Do you think that one so worthy of worship and glory is as real as the realest object you can put your hands on? Can you picture, as a possible scenario, you wrapping your arms around the shoulders of this man? Can you feel what it would be like to hug him like you would hug your dad? That you could embrace him? That with these arms, our arms, my arms, I might pull him close to me and press my ear next to his? Do you believe that you could, with your fingers, trace the blistered scars on his hands, and then, as clear as you’ve ever heard anything before, listen as he speaks to you? He says something to you. He looks at you with his eyes, and he talks to you. He says your name. He does. He says that he loves you. He says that he has all authority in heaven and earth and that he’ll never, ever leave you.
Do you believe he is real like that?
Because if you do — if you see the way Jesus is described in Revelation 5, and if you believe that this Jesus is real — then what is there that we would not do for him?
Fearless in Him
I am convinced that if we could see him here, if we could grasp a fraction of what it means to have all power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing, and if we believe that he is real, so real that we could touch him, hear him, sit next to him, eat a meal with him — if we’d know him and believe him like this — then there is no endeavor for his sake for which we’d be too afraid.
So there are nearly 7,000 unreached peoples on the earth — Jesus is real. Let’s go.
So the secularized West needs the revival of a multiplying church planting movement — Jesus is real. Come with us.
Spend three afternoons a week to mentor troubled youth in the inner-city — Jesus is real. Sign me up.
Pastor a small church in rural America that has terrible internet bandwidth — Jesus is real. Bury me in the parish cemetery.
Sacrifice time and resources so that strangers might hear the gospel — Jesus is real. Show me where.
Do you see what these verses say about Jesus? Don’t you know that he is real?