1 A revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. Christ made it known by sending it through his angel to his servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God and to the witness of Jesus Christ, including all that John saw. 3 Favored is the one who reads the words of this prophecy out loud, and favored are those who listen to it being read, and keep what is written in it, for the time is near.
4 John, to the seven churches that are in Asia:
Grace and peace to you from the one who is and was and is coming, and from the seven spirits that are before God’s throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ—the faithful witness, the firstborn from among the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To the one who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 who made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father—to him be glory and power forever and always. Amen.
7 Look, he is coming with the clouds! Every eye will see him, including those who pierced him, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of him. This is so. Amen. 8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “the one who is and was and is coming, the Almighty.”
John introduced his final book as “a revelation of Jesus Christ.” Revelation focused on both a revelation from Jesus, and a revelation of truths about Jesus. John’s introduction did not suggest fear or foreboding (qualities some people think define Revelation). He greeted the seven churches of Asia (which he quite possibly had pastored), offered praise to Jesus and expressed a hope-filled vision of Jesus’ victorious return to earth.
Lord Jesus, guide me this week as I focus on the parts of Revelation that revealed (and still reveal) you as the one who “loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood.” Amen.
* Hamilton, Adam. Making Sense of the Bible: Rediscovering the Power of Scripture Today (p. 281). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
Oh boy. I struggle with Revelation. Perhaps I'm not alone. Perhaps you do too. It is THE book most people are curious about. THE book people want to take on in Bible Studies. And if it's not Revelation, it's the book of Genesis. Which is telling, I think. Perhaps it is natural that we want to better understand a book about where we've come from (Genesis) and where we're going (Revelation). Both provide exploration of those two big human questions: where did we come from? And where are we going?
Over the years when I've read Revelation, I shut my Bible more discontented than when I began reading. Perhaps the culprit is my patience. But, these past few years, I've tried a lot harder to sit with what feels like an odd and sometimes confusing book to this modern day reader. The more I sit with it, the more I am open to it, and the more I am open to it, the more I learn.
Today's passage contains a favorite of mine in verse 8: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “the one who is and was and is coming, the Almighty.” I love this simply because it reminds me of the big-ness of God. It gives me hope, security, peace, and especially awe for a God I will never fully comprehend. A God who cannot be figured out, pinned down, or put in a box. Why does it remind me of all of this? Alpha (first letter of Greek alphabet) & Omega (last letter). Beginning and End. The One who was, and is, and is to come. There's so much here to me--it's almost overwhelming to consider something so outside of my frame of mind. But perhaps these phrases could even be reworded to modern day ones like these. God is: everything from A to Z; to infinity and beyond; the past, the present, the future. Our God is all of these things, and to quote any good party/event invite, "and much, much more!"
May we all find hope, security, peace, and awe as we sit with Revelation long enough to learn more of what it has to reveal about our Almighty God.
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