If you’ve seen “The Two Towers” from The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the word precious might remind you of Gollum and his purring obsession of the ring. He loves it for the power it holds. He strokes and worships it. He killed to get the ring for himself, and its evil influence changed him from a happy go lucky hobbit into a haunted, emaciated beast. Yet he refers to it as “Precious.” He will do anything to get it back, even as it destroys him.
Contrast that with The Precious Lamb of God.
The word “Lamb” throughout the book of Revelation actually translates as “pet lamb” from the Greek, a term of endearment. It first appears in chapter five:
“I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.’ Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders” (emphasis mine).
John hears the exciting announcement that the Lion of Judah, the Root of the kingly Davidic line has saved the day and looks up to see…a lamb…and a slain one at that! How can we reconcile all Jesus is with a word that means a cherished family pet?
The point is not to make Christ less than He is, but to highlight how precious and worthy He is because of His sacrifice. That’s why this word translated “Lamb” is not the same word as in the rest of Scripture, where it refers to an animal sacrifice or member of the flock.
Even those spotless sacrifices could not pay the price for our sin permanently. They had to be offered again and again in an endless, bloody procession that was only a temporary fix. Until Jesus, the holy Lamb of God willingly gave up His blood on our behalf. That’s why He is so precious and beloved and the center of adoration in heaven; cherished and surrounded by worshipers from every tribe and nation and tongue. He is the only One worthy to save us.
But here’s where it gets even better. The same word translated as “pet lamb” in Revelation is found one other time in Scripture. In John 21:15 Jesus gives Peter his assignment to lead the Church. “Jesus said, ‘Feed my lambs.’”
Who are His lambs? He’s talking about us! All who will believe in the name of Jesus are His precious pets. We’re cherished lambs of the Shepherd who guides and protects us from evil.
Are we precious to Him because possessing us will increase His power, like the lord of the rings? No. Jesus already has all power. We are precious to Him because He made us and loves us beyond anything we can possibly comprehend.
Do you know how precious you are today? Are you God’s little lamb? Do you love Him because He was willing to face rejection, torture, and death for you? Do you worship the Lamb of God because He bore the weight of your sin and shame?
He paid the sacrifice for us all, and rose as victorious conqueror over death and hell. No wonder we worship the Lamb who was slain! He is most precious.
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