The book of Revelation has special significance for me. It’s the book that some friends and I began studying one late night in our college dorm room many years ago, an experience that led to me digging into the gospel of Matthew and finding Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Then in 2002 when my mom died, a friend sent me some verses from Revelation that the Lord had placed on her heart for me. These spoke of open doors (Rev. 3:8, 20), and not long after that I came to work at Peñasquitos Lutheran Church.
If you’ve attended an Alpha Course at PLC you might remember the teaching on How Can We Have Faith? which sites Revelation 3:20 to remind us that Jesus said, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” The teaching usually includes showing a famous painting of Jesus standing at a door that has no door knob. It’s a visual reminder that faith comes by hearing God’s Word (his knock) but requires action on our part. We must open the door.
But probably the most memorable part of Revelation, as I remember from those dorm room days, is John’s use of images and symbols – monsters, dragons, symbolic numbers and names. These things conjure up mystery, and sometimes fear. They remind us that we live in the ever-present conflict between good and evil. For disciples in the early church, these images probably made perfect sense. Written by John during a time of intense persecution of believers, they would no doubt see suffering and martyrdom as relevant recurring themes. John’s vision of heaven’s glory supplied great encouragement to those facing the lions!
We may not be facing any lions today, but the message of Revelation still resounds for us, doesn’t it? We live in that ‘broken slinky’ place, as Pastor Sean called it, where the day-to-day news is full of worry and woe. But thanks to the book of Revelation we also live with the promise of eternity, a place where our new name is written in the book of life. One day what we can only read about now will be a reality – the new heaven and new earth.
“I am making everything new,” Jesus said from his seat on the throne. “He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” (Rev. 21:7)
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.