Jesus comes forth today not as the Lamb, as he has been portrayed up to now, but as a warrior. But not a warrior in the sense of the word as we would imagine. What images come to your mind when you think of a warrior going to battle? Jesus is not covered in armor. There are not tanks or weapons, fighter jets, or any such military might standing by. Jesus is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, with crowns adorning his head. His only “weapon” was the sword coming from his mouth.
He is clearly identified to us in terms we associate with Jesus. “Faithful and True,” the “Word of God,” “King of all kings and Lord of all lords.” We are bombarded with visions, each beginning with John’s words, “I saw.” By now, we know John isn’t describing real events or occurrences but helping us understand using symbols of real occurrences. The victory is sure, but we don’t necessarily need to be expecting a white horse and rider!
“Babylon is fallen,” the angel proclaims. For John’s contemporaries, they would see this referring to Rome. This vision would surely give them hope. At the time John writes this, Rome is alive and well, carrying out atrocities on God’s people. What was the motivation? Power. The sensuality of wealth. Dominion over all.
Rome did fall. Does this mean the message of Revelation is not for us? On the contrary. The book of Revelation concerns the character and timeliness of God’s judgment not only of persons who are “of the world,” but also nations and authority figures, companies, groups, etc., all who have chosen evil over grace.
What is justice? Having worked for lawyers most of my life, I was surrounded by justice, or at least seeking it for our clients. The opposite is “injustice” or an abuse of power. I have seen plenty of examples of injustice during my years in the legal field. There are also many examples in our world. When we see unfairness in wages, for example, you might say there is an abuse of power at work; and it’s an injustice.
To have justice then, we need to balance the power. God intends good for us. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” It isn’t in God’s plan for us to suffer, be in want, feel unloved, be abused, be poor, be alone, etc. When someone swoops in and steals our joy or abuses their power to hurt us, that is injustice. To God, that is sinful.
I have always loved this passage. It empowers women, yet we can feel treasured all at the same time. I remember the first time I read it. I wasn’t feeling particularly glamorous or smart. My energy was low, and I doubted every move I made. I was recovering from a broken marriage, and the scars of abuse were still raging red. I felt as if God’s message here was for just for me. It was encouraging. It was a healing moment. Could I ever be that woman?
I hope you haven’t gone through something horrific like that, and whether you are a woman or man, these verses should speak to you. There is such beauty in the images that come to mind. The style of writing and depth of meaning seem totally out of character with what we have been reading in the rest of the book of Proverbs. Yet this is wisdom, pure gold. That much is the same. How are you relating to yourself or to the women in your life?
What does crazy love look like? When you think of how much God loves us, you get a glimpse of crazy love. As we begin to trust God, Paul tells us, we “have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.” He has a never-ending love. We continue to test it, but his love goes on.
When you think of how we push the limit, testing God and his faithfulness, it’s frightful. Why do we do that? Some of us are more obedient than others, but bottom line–we all fall short. God has so much more planned for us. We can’t begin to fully comprehend that much love and grace. Do you take God’s love for granted? Do you even realize how much you are loved? Continue reading “Ephesians 3:14-21 – Crazy Love”