Seventh Sunday of Easter, May 29
Reader: “Look, I am coming soon,”
Response: “bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds.”
Scripture: Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21
“Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”
Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life.
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this message for the churches. I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne. I am the bright morning star.”
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” Let anyone who hears this say, “Come.” Let anyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who desires drink freely from the water of life.
He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!”
Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!
May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people.
These passages are among the last in the Bible. Jesus speaks three times. One thing is very clear; there are rewards based not just on words but also deeds done in faith. Acts that we do or don’t do have eternal significance. My guess is that we’ll be surprised at which deeds God valued important and which ones weren’t. The idea of rewards for works is apparent throughout Scripture (Jeremiah 17:10, Romans 2:6, I Peter 1:17) The deeds reflect that true belief for good or ill. What you do today can have eternal significance!
Here Jesus is again identified by three eternal names even connecting again to the lineage of King David as heir to the eternal throne as well as associating with the “bright and morning star.” The unique prophet, Balaam, made messianic reference to a “star shall come out of Jacob” in one of his oracles. (Numbers 24:17) The names in themselves indicate that Jesus is not bound by time and completely separate from the entire created order. His existence never had a beginning.
The next comment cites those believers who have resisted the beast. The action of washing their robes is a reference to “washing their robes in the blood of the lamb,” in other words those who were martyred for their faith. Those martyrs have earned the right to eternal life―”to eat the fruit from the tree of life.”
Jesus confirms that the angel speaking to John is the one he has sent. The “you” is plural, meaning that John is to share this message with the churches. The Spirit is the Holy Spirit and the bride is the Church. Empowered by the Spirit, the Church is to proclaim the gospel to everyone. The imperative “come” occurs three times in three successive sentences indicating an urgency.
As the Bible concludes there is one last word from Jesus, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Remember, this “soon” is God’s soon! It can be in the twinkling of an eye or a thousand years, symbolic for a long time. But, a thousand years is “soon” when it comes to eternity! The problems in this world will never be solved by man’s best efforts. Civilization is not on a gradual upward course where it will finally attain an exalted ideal position. That is not what Christianity promises. Redemption of history will be complete only when Christ completes it. John understood that truth with the words, “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” Maranatha! (Aramaic) There is a final benediction which may have been added later as the prophecy was read to the various churches.
What do we learn from this passage? 1) Persist to the end through various trials. 2) What a person believes greatly affects what they do and what they value as important. 3) There are rewards for deeds done in faith. 4) Invite people to come to Christ. 5) Always be ready to leave this life because we don’t know when God’s “soon” will become a now!
Music: “The Morning Trumpet” Hale and Wilder
O Son of God and Son of Man, thou wast incarnate, didst suffer, rise, ascend for my sake; thy departure was not a token of separation but a pledge of return; thy Word, promises, sacraments, show thy death until thou come again. That day is no horror to me, for thy death has redeemed me, thy Spirit fills me, thy love animates me, and thy Word governs me. O God, keep me in this faith, and ever looking for Christ’s return. This I pray in the name of Jesus my Savior. Amen. ―from The Valley of Vision, p.27