Jesus is coming, and John wants you to know it.
1. God gave the revelation of Messiah Jesus to his servant John to show his servants what must happen soon. He sent it by his angels.
2. This is what he testified — what he saw — the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Messiah.
3. Blessed is the one reading it, and those hearing it, and those keeping the prophecy that has been written down, for the time is near.
4. John, to the seven churches in Asia, grace and peace to you from the one who is, was, and is yet to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne,
5. and from Messiah Jesus, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth; the one who loves us and freed us from our sins by his own blood.
6. He made us a kingdom of priests of God his Father: to him be glory and might in eternity. Amen.
7. Behold, he comes with the clouds. All eyes will see him. All the tribes of the earth will mourn the one whom they pierced. Yes. Amen.
8. ‘I myself am the alpha and the omega,’ says the Lord God. ‘The one who is, who was, and the coming one. The Almighty.’
It feels as though every word in these verses is taught with meaning – taught like a flirt ready to become a relationship, like a championship game just before tipoff, like a rubber band about to break, like a woman wailing in labor.
There are no throw away lines here, and each could become volumes — God gave the revelation. Through angels. No wonder we emphasize angels at Christmas. They are the intermediaries who do the bidding of God and who speak his words. The blessing is for those who read it — that is you and me — and those who hear it — that is the saints in worship — and those who keep it — that is between you God.
‘He made us a kingdom of priests’ echoes the words of Peter (1 Pete 2:9). What kind of priesthood does John see in the revelation? One that stays faithful to the word in the face of opposition and persecution. Faithful servants who do not waiver.
Advent calls us to consider our commitments and what we are living for, truly. Jesus is coming, and every eye will see him. I don’t know how that can happen if we are thinking about appearing at once to everyone, but not so hard if we think of it as there being no nook or cranny on earth unaware of his arrival. It will not take television cameras or smart phone screens for this to happen, for his presence will encompass the known world.
Every eye will see. Even the blind ones.
‘Dear Lord, help my feeble eyes to see you now as you are already in the world through your church, your people, and the Holy Spirit. Help me see your body all around me so that when you at last manifest yourself to every eye, I will neither be shocked nor surprised, but instead will have the confirmation that you’ve been there the whole time. In Jesus’ name. Amen.’