Revelation 5 takes us into deep heaven. John has gone through the open door. No trespassing, though, for the one seated on the throne had invited him, “Come up here and I will show you what must take place after this”.

“Up here” undiluted worship continues. The one seated on the throne is powerful indeed, holding a scroll in his right hand, a scroll complete for it has writing on the inside and on the outside; a scroll properly sealed for it has seven seals which no one, it seems, is qualified to open.

And John weeps because there is no one to open this all-encompassing document- “no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth?”

‘Not so’ declares the Victor. ‘I can and I will.’ But the Victor is the Wounded One, “a Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered”. Slaughtered yet standing?

Yes! King Jesus! The One who had humbled himself even to death on a cross. Wherefore God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name….

The Way to Victory- the Way of the Cross! “you are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slaughtered and by your blood ransomed for God saints from every tribe and language and people and nation; you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God…”

The cross and all it implies- “not my will but Yours O God;” being misunderstood or taken for granted, or dismissed, or derided, or taken unfair advantage off; being laughed to scorn because your truth is not you easily comprehended; being made a mockery of because your commitment is costly- leads to a position where God’s future is on offer. At the outset, it may not seem an attractive prospect, but we are called to go for it. Jesus tells the plain truth when he says that those who want to follow him must deny themselves. There is no nice way to dress up the cross. It is costly. It can even be cruel. It leads to death- not necessarily of the body but always of that which does not coincide with God’s will, and that can be hard on us, being stripped of cherished notions and habits that may bolster our egos but don’t sit well with God.

But when we let God strip us of those ungodly features in our lives, we are made “priests unto God” reflecting the nature of God to others and presenting others to God. In so doing, our lives bring into our situations the transformative power of God for which we serve as agents, and heaven comes to earth.