We see Revelation is being written as a letter from John to the churches in Asia. I was thankful for a side note to clarify this is not what we know today as Asia, but rather a Roman province in what is now western Turkey. I am guessing there were more than 7 churches in that region, but we know the number 7 signifies completeness. The seven chosen here should represent all churches.
We see a salutation that we may recognize from Paul’s letters. Grace and peace to you. Such a wonderful greeting, don’t you think. John is quick to add who this greeting is from. We see what could be interpreted as the “Trinity” here. From God the Father, God the Spirit, and God the Son. The authority from heaven will be speaking to us, just as it did in letter form to the audience of churches.
As we read through this book, it will be helpful to keep this picture of authority in mind. John’s words are coming from are coming from Jesus, the source of all truth. John is giving praise to Jesus for what he has done for us, shedding his blood, forgiving our sins. Again, John is setting the stage nicely for those hearing this letter read to accept it with a grateful heart.
When Jesus was among us, he was a humble servant. His followers all expected him to be this mighty and powerful king. After all, if he was the Son of God, the Messiah they had been waiting for, he would have power and be able to save them from their oppression. They were thinking small. Jesus’ power was meant for all and in a different way. We see that kingdom now, as Jesus is in his heavenly home. “He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.” How does that make you feel to know we are included in that kingdom?
We see the announcement of Jesus’ return. He told us he would come back. We’ve been waiting. Many people have tried to figure out when. It’s not for us to know. He told us he would send the Holy Spirit to protect and guide us. John is proclaiming Jesus’ return will be visible and victorious! Everyone will see. “Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him—even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for him. Yes! Amen!” Did you recognize some Old Testament references here? (Hint–Daniel 7:3 and Zechariah 12:10, 12)
With all that is going on in the world these days, I don’t think I’m the only one who has said, “Jesus, you can come back any time!” You may have even looked into the sky for signs of his coming. We can be sure that the Alpha and Omega, our God, is watching out for us. When we’re feeling overwhelmed with life, with the circumstances around us, we can hold on to this truth. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.”
Let’s pray. Lord, I feel this sense of dread and I don’t know why. Calm my fears about the circumstances in life I cannot change. Help me to stand strong in those areas that I am able to control. Watch over all those who are struggling right now with the effects of this pandemic and may they sense a new hope in you. I am clinging to that hope, too. Thank you for all you have sacrificed for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.