In the book of Revelation we’re given a glimpse into worship occurring around God’s throne in heaven. It’s awesome, mysterious, and staggeringly holy.
And Jesus is right in the middle of it.
Revelation 5:11-14 gives this account:
Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.
In John Stott’s The Cross of Christ he talks about the centrality of Jesus, the Lamb, in the book of Revelation’s account of worship in heaven. He writes:
One cannot fail to notice, or to be impressed by, the seer’s repeated and uninhibited coupling of ‘God and the Lamb’. The person he places on an equality with God is the Savior who died for sinners. He depicts him as mediating God’s salvation, sharing God’s throne, receiving God’s worship (the worship due to him) and diffusing God’s light. And his worthiness, which qualifies him for these unique privileges, is due to the fact that he was slain, and by his death procured our salvation.
That last line is key.
“…his worthiness… is due to the fact that he was slain, and by his death procured our salvation.”
Jesus is worthy of praise because he died for us and saved us.
So if Jesus is worthy of praise because he died for us and saved us, how clear is that fact in the songs we’re singing at church this Christmas season? Are we choosing songs, hymns, and carols that help people celebrate the one who came as the “Savior who died for sinners” or songs, hymns, and carols that help people celebrate the Christmas season?
Worship leaders, worship directors, music leaders, choir directors, whatever other title might be bestowed upon the guy or girl who picks songs at a church, must ensure that the opportunity isn’t wasted this Christmas to point people to the cross of Christ, to the suffering servant, to the one who allows us to sing “God and sinners reconciled!”
It’s not too late this year to make sure the words you put on your congregation’s lips declare the good news and proclaim the reason Jesus is worthy of praise.
From “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”:
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
From “Joy to the World”:
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found…
From “What Child is This” is this refrain that many hymnals omit:
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.
All of heaven worships Jesus as the Lamb that was slain. Let’s make sure we do too.