Friday, 6 November 2020
So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. Revelation 5:4
In response to finding that none were worthy to open the scroll and loose its seals, John literally burst into tears. As he says, “So I wept much.”
In the Greek, the pronoun is emphatic, and the verb is in the imperfect tense. One might say, “And I, even I, just kept weeping exceedingly.” When he realized the state of man before the holiness of God, he understood the eternal disconnect that stood between the two. What seems like an easy walk in the presence of God while on the earth is found to be a catastrophic, unhealable wound when standing before Him in heaven. As such, John wept uncontrollably “because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll.”
The contents of the book are hidden from the eyes of all men. Not even one is worthy to reclaim the inheritance lost by Adam. Thus, only life in a fallen world, followed by death and separation from God, is the result. The contents of the scroll are to remain forever out of the reach of the fallen sons of Adam. So great is this barrier that John finishes the thought with, “or to look at it.”
Not only are all unworthy of opening and reading the scroll, not even a momentary glance will ever be offered. Even the most pious, humble, God-fearing man who ever lived will be denied a mere glance at the contents of the scroll. The infection of sin precludes even this. Woe to man without God’s Christ.
Life application: John was overwhelmed at the reality of what he was being presented with through this heavenly vision. He had been told in verse 4:1, “I will show you things which must take place after this.” But now that he was in the heavenly throne room, it appeared that what must take place is simply eternal condemnation for all humanity.
The effects of sin permeated every person who was ever born. Only a sinless being would be qualified to replace the failings of Adam… but no one came forward. No one else was worthy. Even John who was “in the Spirit” (4:2) wasn’t found worthy. But John, in his overwhelming grief, had forgotten the glory of what Christ came to do. He was so consumed with the misery of fallen humanity, that anguish was all he could feel. And yet, the words of Paul as recorded in Philippians 2:9-11, tell us of the glory John had momentarily forgotten –
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
There is a name that is above every other name and One to which all of creation will bow. This One came and fulfilled the Law on behalf of Adam’s seed. Being born of a virgin, he didn’t inherit sin as other humans do. He is, therefore, qualified to face the devil head-on. He prevailed where Adam had failed and so He can now speak on behalf of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth. Don’t weep John; there is an answer to your immense grief. He is coming and His name is Jesus.
That Name above every other name fills our souls with joy. When we think on our sin and fallen state, we can also look around and see that everyone else is just like everyone else. We all fall short of Your glory, O God. And it makes knowing Jesus all the more precious. In all of human history, only One has gone without sin, and it is to Him that we shall direct our praise, honor, and thanks. He is Jesus. Amen.