Following the lamb wherever he goes
Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps, and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless. (ESV)
Big Idea: From eternity past, God determined to save you through the crushing substitutionary sacrifice of His Son. What response does eternally sacrificial love require? It requires nothing short of cross-like love for Him.
- Stand Wherever He Stands (v. 1)
If Christ is your savior, your future is secure because your redemption has been accomplished. In other words, if you are in Christ, you are a part of these 144,000 whom God has chosen to save. This text’s direction to Mt. Zion gives us great assurance. Why was Mount Zion so important throughout the Old Testament, and why is it so important in Revelation? Because it was there that the Lamb was slain once for all to make us His people.
Consider/Discuss: If your eternal future is secure in Christ, how might that change how you view your future in this life? How might this embolden you to stand with Christ wherever he stands?
- Sing Whatever He Sings (vv. 2-3)
The song described here is one God has sung over His son, Jesus Christ, for all eternity, proclaiming through it the worthiness of His son. And because Jesus knew He was fully secure in the Father’s love, He came to earth, suffered, and died for us. Since there has never been a time when the Lamb was unconscious of being slain for sinners, there has never been a time when Christ has not been loved and praised by His Father. In Christ, we are fully secure in God’s love as well. In other words, when we trust in Christ, He puts this song in our mouths, too.
Consider/Discuss: What is the proper response of someone who is fully secure in God’s love?
- Sanctify Whatever He Sanctifies (vv. 4-5)
This simply means that you will consider holy whatever God considers holy. Like many biblical writers, John uses a shorthand reference for all the commandments. As a pastor, he knows with what sins his people struggle most, so he likely mentions those predominant ones: sexual immorality and lying. Jesus did a similar thing with the rich young ruler who asked him how to get into heaven. He didn’t list all the commandments, just a few, until He got to the one that was the young man’s stumbling block—covetousness. So John tells these Romans living in an immoral and deceitful culture that those who truly embrace the love of God in Christ will live in sexual purity and honesty. When you realize that God has suffered loss from all of eternity in order to redeem you, then keeping His commands will no longer be burdensome to you.
Consider/Discuss: What area of your life might Jesus be calling you to sanctify, or make holy in His sight? What aspect of the gospel can motivate and enable you to do this?