Going Deeper 5-16-19

The second reading for Easter 5...
Revelation 21:1-6   Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.  And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "See, the home of God is among mortals.  He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes.  Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away."  And the one who was seated on the throne said, "See, I am making all things new."  Also he said, "Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true."  Then he said to me, "It is done!  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.  To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.

Unlike much of what precedes it, this final section of Revelation uses imagery and language that is much easier to understand.  Referring to Israel the nation and to the new Israel, the Church, as the bride of the Lord brings an understanding of the kind of closeness God desires to have with His people.  "He will dwell with them."  This hearkens all the way back to Genesis 2, which depicts a very close and personal relationship between Adam and Eve and their Creator.

Speaking to people in the midst of persecution, this message brings great hope.  God's people were very familiar with "Death... mourning and crying and pain."  Anticipating a time--an eternity!-- where "Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more‚Äč" sustained these early followers of Jesus during the roughest of times.

These promises continue to bring peace and hope for God's people in the midst of suffering and death.  We too can anticipate a time when God will wipe away every tear from our eyes.  Such promises continue to sustain God's people in times of crisis.

But we do not need to wait until heaven to experience the healing, sustaining, and comforting presence of God.  Jesus promised to be with His followers "always, even unto the end of the age."  He is present with His people now, and works through His people now as we bring comfort and strength to one another.

This is the core message of the book of Revelation: No matter how difficult times may be or become, trust in God.  He will deliver you!!

With You in Him,
Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."