The Lord has everything in hand. As we saw last time, in Revelation 5, John watched the destiny of the planet pass hands as the scroll that had been in the hand of him who was seated on the throne was handed on to the Lion-King-Lamb. As heaven erupted with a cry of "Worthy", they were saying it couldn't be in better hands.

Jesus has his hands full - he's holding the scroll! He's got the whole world in his hand. But we must be careful not sink back into fatalism. Don't worry - he's got it all in hand. Relax - he can handle it. That's fatalism rather than faith. Because when we look closer at what John saw, we see that there were others who also had their hands full. Many commentators suggest that the twenty-four elders represent God's people - they are us in an idealized perspective! They too have their hands full. They are holding bowls, harps and crowns.

The Lord really could have handled history single-handedly. But, for our sake, he wanted us to give him a hand - to make our hands available to do what he put in our hands to do. Not because he needed help, but because he wanted to give us the privilege of partnership in the family business. One of the amazing things in the heavenly scene is that there is not simply one isolated throne, but around the throne are twenty-four thrones (4:4). We are not there as spectators in the control centre of the universe, but as participants in the drama. It is wonderful that the Lion-King-Lamb rules the world; but it is remarkable that the redeemed have a role reigning on the earth, for the King has made us to be a kingly priesthood (5:10). Heaven cries that he is worthy to reign, but the revelation declares that we have been renovated to reign.

So how do we know what we are to do? John shows us what's in our hands (5:8). We do what's in our hands to do.

  • We have bowls in our hands. 
These representatives of God's people have their hands full with bowls fill of incense. We don't get to hold the scroll, but we do get to hold the bowl. The incense represents prayer. That's what we have to do.

  • We have harps in our hands. 
The worship service in heaven, as the Lion-King-Lamb was handed the scroll, was responsive. It was our representatives, the twenty-four elders, who sang the new song extolling his worthiness. When they did that, the four living creatures (representing all of creation) and the angelic multitude responded resoundingly. Eventually everything was resonating in worship. But in this chapter, it took the twenty-four elders to strike the chord and set the theme. It's what we do. We have harps in our hands.

  • We have crowns in our hands. 
In the previous chapter, these same beings cast their crowns before the throne. The crowns were no longer on their heads but in their hands. What are we to do? We take off our crown. The crown, in this instance, was the crown given to the winner in the games, or the mark of honour awarded to military heroes. It represented their achievements. To take them off demonstrates the awareness that we have done nothing, we can accomplish nothing. All the glory goes to him. It's in our hands to do. And as we do, the Lamb begins to open the seals; the story-line of his great purposes moves on to the next page. Another seal is broken. A new chapter opens up. That's what we do!