Bible Studies for Students Devotionals

A Startling Image of Jesus

Verse:  Revelation 5

A helpless lamb—the mightiest of all creatures

Revelation 5:4I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside.

Images of Jesus abound in Revelation, and one way to study the book is to follow a single image throughout. After his luminous appearance in the first chapter, Jesus is presented as a king, a child, a warrior on a horse, the Lord of the whole earth, the husband of a bride. Of all the images, however, none is so startling and unlikely as the one in John’s second vision. Yet it takes hold and appears repeatedly throughout the book.

To set the stage for this vision, the book of Revelation uses more visual drama than a science fiction movie. Lightning flashes, the sky growls and awesome creatures encircle a lofty throne. Four of the creatures (see       Revelation 4:6 ) seem to symbolize the most impressive of all creation, for a common saying in those days went,

The mightiest among the birds is the eagle.

The mightiest among the domestic animals is the bull.

The mightiest among the wild beasts is the lion.

And the mightiest of all is man.

Only One Worthy

A question resounds in the heavens: “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” (Revelation 5:2). In other words, who is worthy to introduce the next phase of history? No one can answer, much to John’s dismay. Not one of the four impressive creatures qualifies.

But suddenly John sees another creature, “a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain” (Revelation 5:6). The image contains a great paradox. None of the majestic angels or elders or living creatures has the right to break the seals. Only a Lamb does—a helpless, slaughtered Lamb.

John records a song of celebration (“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation” [ Revelation 5:9 ], a song set to earthly music much later in Handel’s Messiah. And elsewhere in Revelation true believers are identified as having their names recorded in the “Lamb’s book of life”  ( Revelation 21:27 ).

This powerful image resurfaces often in Revelation, a book of warfare between good and evil. Christ the King is also the Lamb, the One who died for us. His death on the cross, seemingly a great defeat, actually ushered in a decisive victory, for him and for us. Good was not destroyed; it triumphed.

Life Questions

What meaning does the image of Jesus as a slain Lamb have for you? What are your favorite “pictures” or images of Jesus?

This devotion is from the NIV Student Bible by Zondervan. Used with permission.

About Bible Studies for Students

Learn all about Christianity at with rich, theological articles, video, and audio focused on the life of Jesus Christ, Bible Study, the Christian church, and Christian living for families. Grow in your faith and walk with Christ as you read about the history of Christianity, salvation, evangelism and discipleship. Use free daily devotionals from your favorite pastors, authors, and speakers as a way to spend daily quiet time with God. Discover how devotions can help you make postive changes in your life toward living out the promises of God. also offers free online Bible study tools with over 30 translations and a library of commentaries, concordances, lexicons, and more for you to highlight, take notes in, and bookmark for studying the Word!

  • Editors' Picks

    Stop Trying to Read the Bible in a Year!
    Stop Trying to Read the Bible in a Year!
  • The God of All Weather
    The God of All Weather
  • Does Islam Promote Violence?
    Does Islam Promote Violence?