Tuesday, March 29
Reader: “Blessed are those”
Response: “who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.”
Scripture: Revelation 19:9-10
And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he added, “These are true words that come from God.”
Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said, “No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers and sisters who testify about their faith in Jesus. Worship only God. For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus.”
Today we are in the Apocalypse. This pericope contains the fourth of the seven beatitudes in the book, each of which is an encouragement and affirmation to believers to look to the culmination of the journey of faith, the wedding Feast of the Lamb in heaven (1:3; 14:13; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7,14). This Feast is referring to the marriage of Christ to his Bride, the Church. Jesus often used meals to explain the fellowship of the Kingdom of God. Jesus also told several parables about weddings and guests being invited and being prepared. There were those people who ignored the invitation so everyone was invited to the wedding feast (Mt.22:1-14). The parable concludes with “many are called but few are chosen.” Here in John’s revelation, to be called is a blessing not to be missed! It is a high calling to be invited by God to a banquet he has prepared! The concept of a sacred meal between God’s people and the Messiah is common in Jewish thought.
John apparently thought he was talking with the Lord, for he fell down to worship him. But the angel’s response was about as direct as possible, “Don’t do that!” What comes clear in the response is that both humans and angels are servants of God. Both bow before the LORD God.
So what does this have to do with Lent and “A Journey to the Cross”? When you and I came to faith in Jesus Christ, we were born into a spiritual world and had to be born a second time, thus began our eternal journey. It has a starting point and is headed toward, we’ve learned, a glorious feast with our Savior which will occur in the Kingdom of God. This passage is an affirmation that you and I are headed in that direction. In a world that is often in turmoil, it’s so important to be reminded that this world is not our final destination. We’re on a journey. There is a difference between saying “we are on a journey” and having this eternal perspective shape the way we live day to day. Jesus’ journey to the cross made living this way possible.
Music: “Hark! I Hear the Harps Eternal” arr. Alice Parker Los Angeles Master Chorale
“Hark! I Hear the Harps Eternal” arr. Parker GhostLight Chorus (same arrangement sung in a “shaped note” tradition!)
O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, so that I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.” Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long. In Jesus’ Name. Amen. ―A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, p.20