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Bible Study Guide for Sunday, May 1, 2022

May 1, 2022
  • Acts 9:1-6, (7-20)
  • Revelation 5:11-14
  • John 21:1-19
  • Psalm 30

During the Easter season this year, our second readings offer highlights from the Book of Revelation. Many of us tend to skip past this book with its unfamiliar and even bizarre imagery.  Certainly many people over the centuries have drawn very strange prophecies from this text.  Still, Revelation tells us the end of the story.  This was written in terrifying times, as Roman persecutions were gaining steam, and gives a frightened and suffering people a vision that will enable them to endure whatever may come.

Today’s passage comes in the middle of a vision John has of God’s throne room.  The one on the throne (meaning God) is surrounded by twenty-four elders, four living creatures, and many thousands of angels, all praising God.  The one on the throne (i.e. God) is holding a scroll, but no one can open the scroll and read it.  An elder tells John “Do not weep.  See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” (Rev. 5:5.)  So Jesus, described as the Lion of Judah, has conquered through his death and resurrection and he is the one who can open the scroll.

In the very next verse, Jesus appears, but not in the form of a mighty lion.  Instead John sees “A Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered.”  The Lamb takes the scroll and everyone present, the living creatures and the elders and the thousands of angels all sing praise to the Lamb.  Our assigned reading is their song of praise.

This is Jesus in his glory, after the resurrection, but we still see the marks of the Cross.  John does not see Jesus as a powerful lion but as a gentle lamb, and not even a whole and healthy lamb but one “standing as if it had been slaughtered” at that.  Even in glory, Jesus’ power appears as weakness and the chorus of thousands sing praise to “the Lamb that was slaughtered.”

Our other readings today are similarly paradoxical as we see the primary two leaders of the first generation of the Church. And both Peter and Paul come to that position through failure and shame.  Peter brashly declared that he would never leave Jesus, only to deny him three times mere hours later.  Jesus tenderly restores Peter and entrusts the care of the new church to him, saying “feed my sheep.” Paul was even worse, actively persecuting the followers of Jesus only to have those same followers embrace him and he was soon preaching the Gospel himself.  The church grows, not out of power and strength, but out of their failure and shame.  
Kristen Filipic


  • What impressions do you have of the Book of Revelation? What experiences have you had with this book before?
  • The Bible contains many different images of Jesus. Which do you find most compelling?
  • Jesus appears not only as a lamb but specifically as a lamb that was slaughtered. Elsewhere in Revelation, the martyrs still have their wounds, which don’t disappear but are transformed into marks of glory. Have you seen wounds (literal or metaphorical) be transformed?
  • How do you understand the relationship between strength and weakness? Do you have examples of strength coming through weakness?


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