Sunday, December 18, 2016

Revelation 22:12-16

Revelation 22:12-16
“Look!  I come quickly, and my reward is with me to render back to each as is his work.  I am the alpha and the omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.  Blessed are the ones who wash their robes in order that their authority will be upon the tree of life and they should go into the gateways into the city.  Outside are the corruptors, the sorcerers, the fornicators, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and who does falsehood.  I, Jesus, sent my angel to witness these things to you upon the assemblies.  I am the root and the offspring of David – the shining and morning star.” 

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

The last speaker, and the speaker upon whom we will focus entirely today, is Jesus.  Jesus once more reminds us that He is coming quickly.  He also says that He is bringing payment for our deeds, each according to our work.  Once more we hear the message that there will be consequences.  While this message is intended to give all of us pause, it is intended to bring hope and reassurance to the lesser ones in society: those who are picked on, persecuted, tortured, rejected, and outcast.  This verse is more of a warning to those who oppress others than it is a generalized warning for all.  We can all take pause, of course.  But those who are actively seeking to oppress the followers of Christ should feel the most concern.

What do you think that it means when Christ says that He is coming quickly?  Having read through the book of Revelation, are you brought more fear or peace when you hear the promise of Christ to return?  Why is it healthy to feel a little of both?

Second Thought:

Next, we hear Jesus say that those who have washed their robes are to be blessed.  This truly is the key to mitigating the prior thought.  Yes, we can all pause and reflect how our deeds have led to sin.  We can certainly take stock in how our actions have not born out the fruit that God would desire from us.  But that is what repentance is for.  That is why Christ came to die.  When we are humble and acknowledge that our life is full of sinfulness, we are washing our robes in His blood.  When we acknowledge that God’s ways are better than our ways and try to live that out, we are demonstrating our desire – however imperfect – to imitate Christ.  These people, in spite of their imperfection, will be granted entrance into the holy city in order to dwell with God forever.

How does this message from Christ reveal God’s grace and mercy?  How does this passage reveal that God does desire us to respond, even though He did the work of salvation all by Himself?

Third Thought:

Lastly, we have the warning of judgment upon those who do not repent.  They will be banned from the New Jerusalem.  The list of sinful behaviors is nearly identical to the list that we saw in Revelation 21:8.  There will be consequences.  There will be judgment.  Not all people will find admission into life with God.  We do all indeed have free will.  In the end those who are unable to humble themselves before God will not find access to dwell in the presence of God.  Rather than have God’s perfection to sustain them, they will have their sinfulness to keep them company.

When you think about such an existence, what emotions do you feel?  Why do you think that God will not allow all people into His presence, especially since we are all guilty of sin? 

Passage for Tomorrow: Revelation 22:17-21
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