Most of us appreciate power . . . geopolitically, we want our country to be strong; in our work life, we want our opinions and decisions to matter; even in something as trivial as sports, we want our team to dominate others–usually through some combination of strength, speed, and agility. In other words, we like power, because power gets things done.
Israel, as you know, was looking for a powerful Messiah, a Davidic King who would follow in the footsteps of his namesake by leading a victorious army over “thousands and ten thousands.”
Near the beginning of John’s apocalyptic visions–as he was concerned that there was no one worthy to break the seals and open the book–God showed him that the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” would open it. It seems fitting for Jesus to be represented by the powerful lion.
But when John looked, he saw not a Lion but a Lamb–one “as though it had been slain.” And it was the Lamb who was able to break the seals and open the scroll.
The image is striking and incredibly important. The lamb, especially when set in contrast to the lion, is the epitome of weakness. It has no power, no strength.
And yet through the Lamb God conquers.
Tomorrow we’ll reflect on this text and what it teaches us. God wanted to show us that it was through the “weakness” of the Lamb and not the “strength” of the Lion that he would conquer the world. This principle is far-reaching for us as well . . . God’s “power is made perfect in weakness,” and it points to a dynamic that speaks to our own desires to make a difference in the world.