God gave to John a revelation of Jesus Christ.
This intense disclosure of important yet not-so-obvious truths and happenings is the reason the writing in this book is also referred to as the Apocalypse of John. The Greek word transliterated apokalupto (απώκαλϋπτώ) means I reveal.
“Blessed are those who hear and keep what is written in it,” is what I read in the third verse; so pardon me if I try to focus my reflections on what I/ we need to learn from this revelation from God, and to obey its requirements.
John’s insight was shared with the seven churches in Asia. I will not spend time arguing the number of churches there were. There are Bible commentaries that detail the context of the churches mentioned. And as always, I see the significance of seven as reflecting God’s intention that the totality of the faithful receive this message. Seven is the number that seals the deal. So also, the seven spirits who are before the throne- all of heaven and earth must take note of what must be done.
Grace and peace are what he offered to John (v 7) and presents to us today. Grace – the underserved favour of God. We can never earn grace but God is pleased to gift us with all that is necessary to do what God wills us to; and for so doing, we come to enjoy the blessedness of the peace that is beyond explanation, even when our circumstances seem dire, that hidden language is required to pass the message of hope on.
Jesus Christ is the faithful witness. He was faithful to death. He died a witness, that is, a martyr for us. Again the Greek word transliterated matureo from which we get martyr, means I witness. This witness, Jesus Christ is alive, even though he died to experience the death we all deserve. He is no longer dead but God raised him up from death. He is “the firstborn of the dead.” He is “the ruler of the kings of the earth.”
See how many titles are ascribed to Jesus in this short bit of writing?
Well, what comes next is powerful.
He loves us- matchless is his love that moved him to die! You may choose not to believe that he died for you, but I urge you too. I am so glad he came and took my place and experienced death, stripping it of its final power over me! Indeed, he set me free! It is true that he “loves us and freed us by his blood.”
Here is a punchline of sorts. “He has made us to be a kingdom of priests serving God and Father”.
The Priesthood of All Believers! He has made God accessible to me. Indeed, I can call the Almighty ‘Father’. God is MY Father. God is our Father. Hallelujah!
I have access to God. I can speak with my Father!
And he walks with me, and he talks with me, And he tells me I am his own.
And the joys we share, as we tarry here, None other has even known,
Austin Miles (1913
And since God is accessible to me, I must make God known. Priesthood is a two-way thing. Representing myself and others to God. Re-presenting God to others. That’s a two-way street. Privilege and responsibility are tied for the believer. As we know God, so must we make the Lord known.