Sixth Sunday of Easter (May 1, 2016)
- First reading
- Second reading
Revelation 21:10 | New Living Translation (NLT)
10 So he took me in the Spirit[a] to a great, high mountain, and he showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.
Revelation 22:1-5 | New Living Translation (NLT)
22 Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.
3 No longer will there be a curse upon anything. For the throne of God and of the Lamb will be there, and his servants will worship him. 4 And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads.5 And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—for the Lord God will shine on them. And they will reign forever and ever.
Here is the blessed hope – here is the promise – this is what makes all the difference. John had the new heaven and new earth revealed to him. He was taking a message to believers who were being persecuted. Remember that Revelation was written in the late 1st Century. At the time, Christians were being persecuted for their faith. They would continue to be persecuted for their faith until the 300’s. I believe that this is why John was chosen to write the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Those who were going through intense persecution needed to know what the end of the story looked like. After all, who doesn’t like to know the end of the story. In these six short verses, we see the promise. The “end” is in sight and yet the “end” goes on forever.
I find it interesting that the end of the book has a river of life…just as the beginning of the book had a tree of life…and the beginning of the book “began” with rivers. There were four rivers flowing out of the Garden of Eden. Eden was original paradise – it was God’s plan A. He wanted a relationship with “the man” or Adam. As we learn, God created male and female and he created us in the image of himself. I think that is pretty amazing – that God would think so much of us that we were made in his image. No wonder He was so disappointed when Adam and Eve fell into sin.
So we have come full circle – paradise lost has been restored. The place that was created without sin and pain is restored. The sea is gone – as we discussed last week and so is the curse of sin. In John, Jesus declared that he was living water and now the water of life flows from the throne and the Lamb.
This is a place of pure worship – there will be no need for sun or lamps because the Lord himself will shine on us. And we will reign forever with the Lamb.
I don’t know what you are going through. Maybe you are going through some sort of storm. I encourage you to look to the promised one – I encourage you to look to the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. Put your trust in him and worship him.
The song I’ve chosen to finish this post might seem strange, since it is “Christmas” in nature, but I’ve decided to finish this post with a tune of Chris Tomlin’s new Christmas CD. “He Shall Reign Forevermore”