Spiritual Success or Distress?
Quarter 1, Lesson 12

Lesson Twelve

Jesus: The Worthy Servant

Text: Revelation 5

This picture of Jesus the servant is unique. Each of the other pictures in this series declared his coming, revealed his physical life, or discussed him after his resurrection. This picture is provided after his resurrection. That fact does not make it unique. It is a picture of Jesus as the Lord and Christ in heaven after the resurrection. That is unique.

Revelation provides this picture. Rather than allowing our questions to distract us, focus on Jesus, The Lamb, in Revelation 5.

The scene: John saw a vision of God's throne room (4:1,2). He saw God holding a scroll (a long sheet of rolled up writing material). This scroll had writing on both sides. It was rolled (unreadable) and sealed with seven seals. The privacy of a writing's contents was preserved by sealing a scroll with wax. The message of a sealed scroll was not common knowledge. John knew his questions could not be answered if he did not know the message of the scroll.

A strong angel with a loud voice asked, "Who is worthy to open the scroll" (to break its seals and reveal its message)? Only someone worthy could take the scroll from God's hand and open it. No one in heaven, on earth, or under the earth answered. No one in any realm was worthy to reveal the scroll's message.

John began to cry. He would never know the scroll's message. A heavenly being of great importance told him not to cry. There was one who was worthy to open the scroll. John then saw a Lamb who had been killed (sacrificed) standing in the middle of the throne (literal translation). Because he was worthy, this Lamb took the scroll from God's hand. When he did, the dignitaries of heaven bowed before the Lamb and sang. Their song answers these questions.

  1. What was the Lamb worthy to do (verse 9)?

  2. For what two reasons was the Lamb worthy to do this (verse 9)?

  3. What did the Lamb make from the people that he purchased with his blood from all over the world (verse 10)?

  4. What will these people do (verse 10)?

A second song began as angels beyond number sang with the twenty-four elders and the four creatures.

  1. What is the Lamb worthy to receive (verse 12)?

  2. Upon whom was blessing declared (verse 13)?

Note in the songs, only two are worthy: the enthroned God and the sacrificed Lamb.

Focus on an obvious, simple point: Jesus, the sacrificed Lamb, the resurrected Lord, is worthy, and God is worthy. The worthy Jesus became God's sacrificial lamb because he was the submissive, humble servant. As the servant, he was killed. As the servant, he gave his blood to purchase people for God. Because he emptied himself in total submission, including submission to death, God exalted him to be Lord (remember Philippians 2:2-11?).

All heaven, including God, honored Jesus because he is worthy (read 1 Corinthians 15:23-28). No one else is worthy to be Christ. No one else is worthy to be Lord. No one else is worthy to receive from God the authority to rule. God's own son, the Worthy One who became God's servant, took and unsealed the scroll.

When we worship on Sunday, do you see Jesus' worthiness? When we take the Lord's Supper, do you see Jesus' worthiness? As you eat the bread which symbolizes Jesus body, do you see Jesus' worthiness? When you drink the grape juice that symbolizes his blood, do you think of Jesus' worthiness? When you sing honor and praise, are you aware of Jesus' worthiness? When you pray to God and end your prayer "in Jesus' name," do you have a sense of Jesus' worthiness? When you consider God's forgiveness, God's grace, God's mercy, God's willingness to pay your ransom with Jesus' blood, do you think of the worthiness of Jesus?

After death, how will you react to Jesus' worthiness? After you die, what importance will you attach to your forgiveness? After you die, what importance will you attach to God's grace and mercy? When you see what John saw, how will you react? Will you need to be told to fall face down before the Lamb? Will you want to? Will you need to be told to praise the Lamb? Will you want to? Will you understand and feel your complete dependence on Jesus? Will you realize what your position or future would be if the Lamb had not purchased you with his blood?

God made Jesus Christ and Lord because he was willing to be a servant. What God makes of each of us depends on our willingness to be servants. The Son of God became a human servant devoted to achieving God's purposes on earth. If we become sons and daughters of God, we must be God's servants who are devoted to achieving God's purposes on earth. Jesus achieved God's purposes by the way he used life and death. So will we.

Jesus did not serve God on his own terms. We do not serve God on our own terms. Jesus served God to achieve God's purposes, not his own. We serve God to achieve God's purposes, not our own. To serve God, Jesus gave his life to God. To serve God, we give our lives to God. Serving God meant God determined how Jesus lived and how he died. Serving God means God determines how we live and how we die.

Link to Teacher's Guide Quarter 1, Lesson 12

Copyright © 1999, 2000
David Chadwell & West-Ark Church of Christ

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