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The Lamb who redeems us from sin (Part Two in a series of Four – “Fall and Redemption”)

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11th Sunday after Pentecost – August 20, 2017

Revelation 5:2-4, 9 and 12-13 and John 1:29

As I mentioned last week, we’ll be focussing on our purpose and vision as a congregation while working our way through the Book of Revelation. Last week was Part One about the Creator God to whom we as believers say we belong. It is this Creator God whom we worship with all our being.

Part Two, today we take note of the fact that everything in this world went sour after the Fall that is described metaphorically according to Genesis 3. The Fall, where Adam and Eve are described as the first humans in the Garden of Eden, were tricked by the serpent serves as a description and explanation of what we all experience. The world as we would prefer it, in it’s perfect state like the Garden of Eden, just isn’t perfect. Life is messy. As humans we become ill, many of our relationships go sour, forests burn down in wildfires, and nothing is just the same anymore. It often feels as if all the orderliness that we so often hope to experience just never happens.

When we read the few verses from the passage from Revelation, we find that there is one holding a scroll. This scroll represents the will of God for creation (in a certain way as a deed it could further represent God’s ownership of the universe). There is only one who has the authority to know that will. This one can execute it because this one is able to break the seals. John, the recipient of this vision, is distraught that apparently no one could be found with the authority to make God’s will both known and reality. He is then told to look at the mighty conqueror, the Lion of Judah. However, when John turns, he does not see a mighty lion, but a peaceful Lamb. It is true that this Lamb has conquered, but not through violence, but through self-sacrifice. This Lion and Lamb is of course Jesus, the Messiah who died and rose again.

The arrival of Christ, the one who is worthy, is yet another occasion for worship and praise. The throne room is filled with the singing of first the elders and living creatures, then thousands and thousands, and finally every creature in creation.

The entire world can only be redeemed by this Lamb who is the Prince of Peace. It is in meekness that Christ came into history to help us out of our dilemma. He is the lamb that takes away the sins of the world.

Yes, none of us can be found worthy. We have always fallen short. In the period that ran up until the birth of Jesus Christ, we all failed. Now the new dispensation has shown up, and we are free. The new covenant is the story of love by forgiveness. This could only be done by the Son of God in the ultimate act of love for us. You and I are forgiven.

What does this mean in our current context? What light does it shed on world events and also the events at Charlottesville, Virginia? Jesus’ role of being the Lamb in the course of history, paints something that seems to clearly contradict attitudes of polarising the world into “us” and “them.” I couldn’t see our role as followers of Christ other than to condemn the polarising actions wholeheartedly and unequivocally.

There have been, are, and will always be those who regard it their job to take authority into their own hands. Would such an attitude ever be helpful when innocent people lose their lives to terrorising individuals from many angles in the world.

The Son of Man, the Lamb of God is the one who set things right for us here on earth. Will we always have things easy? I don’t think so.

Before concluding I wish to read a quote from Jean Vanier: “Community…is the place where our limitations and our egoism are revealed to us… we discover our poverty and our weakness, our inability to get on with other people, our mental and emotional blocks… our seemingly insatiable desires, our frustrations and jealousies, our hatred and our wish to destroy.” So much of this is in need of redemption.

Let the attitude of the Lamb of God be our guide, so that we can truly be redeemed from so much sin and brokenness in the here and now.

Last week we read about the Creator who created everything wonderfully perfect to whom all worship and honour belongs. This week we took note of the Fall, where everything went wrong. We stopped by at the Lamb who redeems us from sin. In two weeks’ time we’ll see the Promise and Hope that the Book of Revelation offers. There is a part in-between, next week. I would venture to say that this is the part that has no name yet, the part that God gave us the task to write with our human lives as we see how much of “orderliness is under threat.”

 

Copyright 2017 – Heinrich Grosskopf, Minister of Dayspring Presbyterian Church

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