To help with this disconnect, I want you to take some time and think about the World. Today the headlines are “Terror in Belgium.” This weekend in Cedar Rapids, IA (the back porch for many of you who read this blog), there were two gang related murders. Last week the news cycle was about violent protesters at political rallies and Kim Jong-un of North Korea shooting ballistic missiles into the ocean and claiming he has developed a nuclear bomb that could wipe out Manhattan. Let’s face it, this world is broken.
But if that was not enough just think about your life. Every day many of us must work very hard to make ends meet. Day after day we are caught up in the rat race of laboring and sweating to put food on the table. Our marriages, even on the best days, can prove difficult. Some people falling prey to the lie that divorce is better than fighting the fight. Mid-life crisis, eating disorders, alcoholism, drug additions, pornography addictions, depressions, consumerism, bullying, suicide. All of these things become mountains in our life, overshadowing us and stealing our joy.
And this is true for all generations, not just this present time. Life is, and always has been since the fall, broken. It is perpetually broken. Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, millennia after millennia…broken.
Will this ever end, or is this just the way it is? There is Hope.
“Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” 3And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, 4and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. 5And 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 5:1-5)
The book of Revelation is a poetic writing (technically the genre is called apocalyptic) about the end times. The scroll in this passage represents the ushering in of the end. John, the author of Revelation, is weeping because no one can put a stop to the perpetual brokenness by ushering in the end. His heart desires the black cloud to lift, but who is worthy to break the seal and allow the winding up of this present darkness. The answer, according to the Angel, is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Root of David. This Lion King has battled and has been victorious and earned the right to put a stop to the painful cycle. This leads to the questions who is this and how did he achieve this victory?
At that moment John looks up and sees, not a Lion, but a Lamb that was slain, yet standing.
“And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne.” (Revelation 5:6-7)
This Lion of Judah, this Root of David, this Lamb who was slain is Jesus Christ. He has conquered by his blood. Yes he was crucified, but he did not remain dead. He has risen. The Lamb was standing! This event of Jesus taking the scroll from His Father caused the Heavens to erupt with song.
“And they sang a new song, saying, ‘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,10and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.’” (Revelation 5:9-10)
Yes, Easter is about Jesus, but it is also about us. They story of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection is relevant to everyone. Christ is the only one that can bring an end to the perpetual brokenness. Only Jesus can usher in the end times and set up a New Heaven and a New Earth whereby the children of God will reign, not in sin, but in righteousness. We are given a glimpse of this New Heaven and New Earth in Revelation 21.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
This is why we say Happy Easter. This is why we celebrate. This is why we sing songs. For the Lamb is worthy and He has rescued his Bride and has conquered sin and death. So let us join the great choir of Heaven and rejoice for we have overcome this broken world by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.