Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Power of God in Weakness

"Do not weep! See the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals." Then I saw a lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne... -Revelation 5:6-7 (NIV)

In today's suggested scripture reading John notices a scroll in the hands of the one on the throne. An angel asks, "who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?" but no one in heaven, on earth, or under the earth could open it. John then begins to weep, likely because he has just been promised in Revelation 4:1 that he will be shown what will take place and yet no one is able to read the contents of the scroll. Thankfully, one of the elders says to John, "Do not weep. The Lion of Judah has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals."

The interesting thing is that when John looks, he doesn't see a lion...he sees a lamb. He's looking for this ferocious animal who has sharp retractable claws to rip into the seven seals of the scroll. What he sees is a small lamb that looks as if it has been slain. One is a hunter; the other is the hunted.

It appears to me that, even though Jesus is referred to as both Lion and Lamb, John first sees him as Lamb because John realizes that Jesus' power comes not as a fighter but as a suffering servant. In the Old Testament, lambs were sacrificed to atone for sins; Jesus is the Lamb of God who dies as the final sacrifice for all sin. But when he died, the hopes of many of his disciples died with him. They doubted that the Messiah for which they waited would die in such a cruel, humiliating way. But in his resurrection, believers realize that Jesus was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities, and by his wounds we are healed.

So many people reading this devotional are wounded in one way or another. Take heart, dear readers, for today's reading is one of hope. Scripture affirms over and over again that God's power is made perfect in weakness. And God's power can be made perfect in your weakness and in your woundedness. Yes, yours!

May God grant you the grace to see the power of God made perfect in weakness today.

If you're interested in reading through the Bible in a year, tomorrow's readings are Ezekiel 15-16, Psalm 70, and Revelation 6.

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