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. In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” (Revelation 5:11-12)
This week has not been a good time to be a lamb:
Caught in a thicket
Killed in your prime and your blood splattered on the doorposts
Thrown out into the wilderness
Washing away the dirt for everyone, even for those who don’t care
Killed and eaten again and again
Sacrificed to pay old debts, from horrible felonies to misdemeanors
Behold the Lamb of God, behold what God had and spent for us!
When I look at a large check I have written, I think, “Wow, that cost a huge amount.” But then I look at what has been purchased, and I thank God that there was enough in the account to cover the bill. What I have paid, though, is nothing. Behold the Lamb of God— what God has spent for us. The payment process has been grim and painful. The Son of God has been slaughtered for us. And now we wait for the delivery. This time of Holy Saturday is broken by overwhelming numbers and voices around the throne. Jesus’ humiliation has turned to exaltation.
“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. In a loud voice they were saying: ‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!’” (Revelation 5:11-12)
Behold the Lamb that God spent, and behold what he has purchased: “Power and wealth”—not the kind limited to things and time and greed or ambition, but the power that creates new universes out of nothing, that creates a saint eternal out of this dirty clay. “Wisdom and strength” that are not bound by reason, the latest theory or diet. “Honor, glory, and praise” that do not come from popular consent or individual agendas, but are sung by a choir of 100 million angels. Did you notice that the millions sing with one “voice”? Finally for this ripped and torn world there will be genuine unity—the one truth of the Lamb, grace beyond all doubt and differences. This is heaven. All this the Lamb has and gives to all who believe in him.
Thank you, God, that you emptied your account to pay for all this. And now we wait for the delivery. This is where we are in Holy Week, between the sacrifice of Good Friday and the empty tomb on Easter. We are amazed at what God has paid and waiting for the delivery of the final gifts. How will we wait for that morning? With the Lamb at the center of the throne, where he has been given all that is truly good and lasting. With the Lamb at the center of our throne, the focus of our lives and devotion.
Dear Lord, help us to add our voice to the millions of angels—confident of your power and delighting in your wisdom and strength. Amen.
Rev. Brian Dose serves Martin Luther College as a professor of English.