Jul 15, 2015

For the Church: Singing Worthy Is the Lamb

5 Min Read

"Worthy Is the Lamb," from Glory to the Holy One, is a stirring paraphrase of John's vision of the scroll and the Lamb in Revelation 5. The entire narrative centers around the seminal question, "Who is worthy?" John is "convulsed with tears and broken heart" that "not even one lone soul" is worthy to open and read the scroll. The elder consoles John not to weep, for there is One who is worthy.

The Lion is worthy, by virtue of His kingly authority and power, "to now unseal the scroll." "A Lion has prevailed!" Jesus Christ is the victorious Lion of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:8-12), the Root of David (Isaiah 11:10). Yet, when John looked up, "instead there stood a bloodied Lamb like one who had been slain" in the midst of the throne.

The Lamb is worthy, for He has redeemed His people by His blood. The breathtaking refrain climactically rings with affirmation and praise of the Lamb. The music's rich texture and expansive phrasing stirringly captures the weight and majesty of the text: "Worthy, worthy, worthy is the Lamb who was slain." Christ is called the Lamb 23 times in the Book of Revelation. He is our "bloodied Lamb" who was slain to redeem us to God (5:9); He is our royal Lamb who executes judgment from the throne (6:16); He is our warrior Lamb who will overcome all His and our enemies (17:14); He is our shepherd Lamb who will lead us to living waters (7:17); He is our betrothed Lamb who calls us to His marriage feast (19:7-9).

Sing of His matchless worth. Revelation 5 includes three jubilant hymns extoling the Lamb, culminating in every creature joining the myriad of heavenly hosts in the triumphant fourfold ascription of worth to the Lamb: "All blessing, honor, glory, and pow'r to Christ, the Lamb that died." We, the redeemed by His blood (5:9), are part of that grand and glorious heavenly choir singing with loud voice the eternal song, "Worthy is the Lamb."


The veil of heaven opened wide
The scene was clearly set
John saw a scroll writ either side
Where seven seals were met
With booming voice the angel said
To now unseal the scroll
But none was found to meet the task
Not even one lone soul


Worthy, worthy, worthy is the Lamb
Worthy, worthy is the Lamb who was slain

Convulsed with tears and broken heart
John's hope was now assailed
"Weep not," the elder counseled him,
"A Lion has prevailed!"
No lion came to take his claim
No beast of royal reign
Instead there stood a bloodied Lamb
Like one who had been slain


Ten thousand times, ten thousand more
The host of heaven cried
All blessing, honor, glory, and pow'r
To Christ, the Lamb that died


Christ the Lamb, who was slain

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