A dragon, a beast, a cosmic war with plagues and famines – not to mention the end of the earth as we know it. No, it’s not the latest apocalyptic fantasy thriller! The book of Revelation has all the elements of a great drama – but what does it all mean?
These churches were facing difficulties. Many were persecuted, one had been executed and their leader had been exiled. Could they survive? Would they hold on? Given their circumstances, was their trust in Jesus misplaced? Is Jesus trustworthy? Without trust in a trustworthy God, the church would collapse. Why face hardship and even persecution if God is not faithful?
Our new series in Revelation is titled Measure Up. Does Jesus measure up as a person who is trustworthy? Do the seven churches measure up to what was expected of them? Do we in our day measure up as a church representing Jesus?
The verses we are considering speak of Jesus as … the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. (Revelation 1:5) In part Jesus’ faithfulness can be measured by looking at his actions, his behaviour, whether he kept his promises and by seeing if those who knew him trusted him. John’s willingness to endure exile points to the deep trust he personally had in Jesus and in the message of the gospel. Jesus’ faithfulness can be measured by his love for people and his sacrificial death for them. John speaks of Jesus as … him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood. (Revelation 1:5)
These churches needed to be reminded and assured of Jesus’ faithfulness. Perhaps this is something we also need to hear as we follow Jesus.
In what ways have you found Jesus to be faithful?
How could you be faithful to him?
Rev John Malcolm