Category: Revelation (Page 1 of 8)

House Call: Revelation

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” ~Luke 5:31

There is so much revealed about Jesus in the very short story of the great banquet at Levi’s house. Who Jesus is and what Jesus came here to do and why and how he came to do it is revealed in his answer to the Pharisees who are questioning the sort of company he keeps. He is a doctor who has come to heal the sick. Those are his words. It sounds kind of like a mission statement, doesn’t it? I am a doctor and I have come to heal the sick. Why?

Because he knows. Jesus knows the world is sick. He knows God’s creation is sick. Men and women and children are sick. Families are sick. Communities and cities are sick. People are hurting, people are suffering, people are in pain and dying. And Jesus says I am the doctor!

The old prophet Jeremiah uses this kind of language as he is proclaiming the miseries of God’s people:

“We had hoped for peace, but no good has come; for a time of healing, but there was only terror… My heart is faint within me. Listen to the cry of my people… My people are crushed, I am crushed. I mourn and horror grips me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?” ~Jeremiah 8:15-22

God’s people cry out, “Is there a doctor in the house?” And Jesus Christ, the holy Son of God answers, “I Am! It’s Me!”

I am bringing to you the new age of the Kingdom of God. I am bringing to you new power and new possibilities and new hope that’s never been there before. I’ve got complete forgiveness for you and full holiness and total righteousness. Everything that’s making you sick and tired and weak, everything that’s keeping you from being who and what God created you to be, everything that’s killing you – I’ve got the cure!

You know, a doctor like that – you probably can’t just show up to see him without an appointment. He’s probably booked for six or seven months or more. And a person like you – you probably couldn’t even get an appointment with a doctor like this. A doctor this good probably isn’t taking new patients.

Except, no! Praise God the Great Physician makes house calls! He comes to you and knocks on your door! He comes to you and it doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter where you are, he meets you right there. Jesus goes to the tax collector’s booth and then he shows up at the tax collector’s house, at his table!

In Revelation 3, Jesus says, “Here I am. I’m right here. I stand at the door and knock.” It’s a house call. Always. “I am standing right here and I’m knocking. And if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in. And I will eat and drink with you and you will eat and drink with me.”

Peace,

Allan

Everything New!

These are the five most exciting words in all of Scripture:

“I am making everything new!” ~Revelation 21:5

This is the divine promise. This is the holy guarantee. This is the dramatic climax to the Gospel story we’re living right now in Jesus Christ. Not new like an existing breakfast cereal that adds additional marshmallow moons, not new like a laundry detergent that features a unique cleaning agent. It’s not a different label, a brighter color, or a longer lasting battery.

This is new heaven and new earth new. This is no more tears, no more suffering, no more pain, no more death new. This is mourning being turned into dancing new. Emptiness to fullness new. Bitterness to joy new. Death to life new. Our Lord is making everything new!

May our Lord move you into his “new” as he moves you and yours into 2021.

“The old order of things has passed away! I am making everything new! Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true!” ~Revelation 21:4-5

Peace!

Allan

The New Order

“The old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”¬† ~Revelation 21:4-5

The last two chapters of Revelation contain very familiar descriptions of heaven. These are the phrases that make it into our church songs and our popular lexicon: streets of gold, pearly gates, book of life, river of life, crystal sea, no tears.

There are some descriptions of the City of the Lamb in these verses that are not as familiar. Some of the descriptions are even surprising: coming down out of heaven to earth, the bride, Jerusalem, gates never shut.

These final two chapters show us where all things are headed. We see the ultimate fulfillment of all God’s goals. We get a picture of the finish line. And my favorite phrase is about the old order of things passing away and the new order being eternally established by our victorious Lord.

The old order — the broken way that things run in this world. Sin and death, power and threat, violence and division and strife — that’s the old order of things. That’s the way the world works. We know that’s how it works. But God says I am making everything new!

The old order is grief and loss and heartache and tears; the new order is no more death or mourning or crying or pain!

The old order is wealth and power and poverty and despair; the new order is access to the springs of life without cost — God’s everlasting blessings are free!

Right now the world operates by division and exclusion, racism and discrimination; the City of the Lamb has gates on every side and they’re never shut; it doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re coming from, men and women from every tribe and language and people and nation are welcome; everybody’s invited, nobody’s left out, and the doors are always open!

Today we live under constant threat and fear and dread and anxiety; but nothing impure will ever enter the City of the Lamb — no bad people, no night, nothing to be afraid of!

Today we’re all impacted in some way by sickness, disease, and disabilities; tomorrow we all drink freely from the water of eternal life and the tree of life heals us and all the nations!

The old order is isolation and loneliness, separation from God and distance from each other because of our sins and failures and brokenness and guilt; in the beautiful City of the Lamb we will  see his face; his name will be on our heads; God will live with us; we will be his people and God himself will be with us and be our God; and we will reign in perfect love and joy and peace for ever and ever! Amen!

Peace,

Allan

Living for the Lamb

We’ve made the book of Revelation too complicated. I love what Randy Harris says about it. He claims the whole book of Revelation is super easy. It’s only got three points:

1) God’s team wins.
2) Pick a team.
3) Don’t be stupid.

Revelation reminds us of the promise and shows us the hope. Revelation reveals to us God’s ultimate goals for his people and all of creation and shows us what it looks like when it’s ultimately fulfilled.

Revelation gives us one of the most stunning, creative and beautiful pictures of Jesus Christ and his eternal Kingdom in the whole Bible. It’s a masterpiece. Yes, some of it’s pretty wild. But the overarching point is about the conflict between good and evil. It’s about the cosmic clash between the kingdoms of the world and the Kingdom of God. And it tells us — no, it shows us! — that the best and only hope for us and the world is Christ.

Our God’s mission is to bring all things in heaven and on earth together in Christ. As children of God and followers of Christ, we join him in that mission. We’ve given ourselves to that mission. And Revelation shows us that mission when it’s finally and fully accomplished.

The vision in Revelation informs and empowers the Church’s mission. We know what God has done in the death and resurrection of Jesus and we know where this whole thing is headed. We’re compelled by the current realities and the future realities to teach and heal, to encourage and comfort, to sacrifice and serve, to show the love of God and to share the victory of the Lamb with others here at home and to as much of the rest of the world as we can.

Every time a church is planted, every time a hungry child receives a meal, every time a missionary is trained and sent, every time a sick person is healed, every time a sermon is preached, every time a homeless man is brought into Christian community, every time a Bible is opened in another language, somebody is brought face to face for the first time with the power and love of Jesus Christ. Somebody gets the idea that this world belongs to God, not to the forces of evil. Somebody begins to believe that there are promises and there is hope because the Lamb of God is on the eternal throne and the situation here is not all there is.

Peace,

Allan

Victory of the Lamb

“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men and women for God from every tribe and language and people and nation!” ~Revelation 5:9

The Lamb of God has been slain, but he has not been conquered. The Lamb has been killed, but he’s not hurt. The risen and glorious Lord Jesus is holding the world’s salvation in his hands and he is standing — standing victoriously! — in the center of the eternal throne. Because he died. Jesus conquers not by violence, but by humble sacrifice; not by threat, but by suffering; Jesus’ victory comes not through force, but by his willing death.

That’s one of the jokes, right? It’s the irony of the Good News of the Gospel. The Bible calls it the foolishness of the cross: that the sinful structures of this world — the beast — and the evil forces of sin and death and Satan are conquered by a little lamb. This is how God works.

Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, but he doesn’t reign as a prowling, predatory lion — he’s a Lamb. The Lamb of God is not worthy because he’s divine or because he’s powerful; he is praised by all of creation because he gave his life for all of creation. Christ Jesus is worthy of all worship and glory and honor and praise, he’s worthy of ruling the universe in love and peace, because of his sacrificial death on our behalf.

Because he has purchased people for God with his blood. Not just A People. This is not just a victory for one particular group of people, this isn’t salvation for just one nation or one tribe or even for twelve really special tribes. The Lamb of God shares his victory with men, women, and children from every tribe and every language and every people and every nation! No partiality! No discrimination! Everybody’s invited and nobody’s left out! We are all more than conquerors through the Lamb who loves us! The Suffering Servant who came to seek and save the lost. The humble King who came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life. The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Peace,

Allan

Song of the Lamb

“Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?’ But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside.” ~Revelation 5:1-4

God sits on his throne in heaven and holds in his right hand his eternal plans for the salvation of the world. The scroll is full — it’s got writing on both sides. The seven seals indicate that the scroll is official. It’s authentic. This is the real deal, it has authority. But the seals also make sure only the authorized party can open the scroll and read it. Only someone worthy, only someone with the right credentials and the right status can open it up and put whatever’s inside into effect.

So this is God’s plan to undo and overthrow sin and death and Satan and everything that separates us from God, everything that’s attacking us and destroying us and the world. This is God’s divine decree to deliver and rescue and save all of creation from the forces of evil. God’s holding it right there.

And this dramatic scene turns tragic when no one is found who is worthy to open it.

After searching all of humanity, the living and the dead, not one person is found worthy to execute God’s redemption. Not Abraham, not Moses, not David, not Elijah — nobody is worthy to preside over the salvation of the world. And John begins to weep uncontrollably. John is filled with despair. He’s distraught, he’s overcome with sorrow because it looks like God’s gracious plans for his people won’t be realized. John cries out loud because he knows the world is messed up and no human is going to fix it.

I don’t know what makes you cry. I don’t know how you are personally impacted by the brokenness of the world and by the fallen nature of humanity. I don’t know how your sin and the sins of the people around you affect you. I don’t know how hunger and poverty and disease and death and violence and hatred and war and corruption impact you. I don’t know what makes you cry.

But imagine if the only hope we had was in ourselves. What if the only chance we had to fix everything depended on us?

“Then one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed! He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals!’ Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne… He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne.” ~Revelation 5:5-7

Only one is worthy to bring God’s salvation to earth. Only one is worthy to rule the world in perfect love and peace. Only one is worthy to defeat sin and destroy death forever by the Word and power of God. And when it’s announced that Jesus, the Lamb of God, is worthy, all of creation breaks out in glorious song.

“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men and women for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a Kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth… Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!… To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power forever and ever!” ~Revelation 5:9-13

The Lamb of God has been slain, but he has not been conquered. The Lamb has been killed, but he’s not hurt. The risen and glorious Lord Jesus is holding the world’s salvation in his hands and he is standing — standing victoriously! — in the center of the eternal throne!

The Song of the Lamb gives us a picture of the reality. God is sitting on his throne and the risen Jesus is standing right in the middle of the room with him. We see who’s really in charge of the world. God is sovereign over the world because it’s his — he made it! The Father and the Son are reigning supreme. They are the ruler over everything that’s happened in this world and over everything that’s going to happen. No matter what it looks like or feels like, to you or to anyone else, we know our loving and gracious God is in control.

Peace,

Allan

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