There's a Ben Rector song that celebrates the blessing of having old friends. He says, "You can grow up, make new ones, but truth is, there's nothing like old friends."
A few months ago, I got a call from an old friend. We worked together on staff at Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Birmingham, AL. He was traveling through our area and wanted to meet up. What was supposed to be a one hour lunch turned into an all-afternoon conversation. It was good to catch up and to reflect on some of the experiences we had together.
I left our conversation encouraged. We can't return to the past, but old friends help us to remember. Those reminders are important to our present and can influence our future.
The Last Apostle
John was the last living apostle. The rest had been martyred for their faith.
When Jesus was with the apostles, John was the youngest of the twelve. He was one of the three that made up Jesus' inner circle. At the last supper, it was John who leaned on Jesus' chest. Jesus loved all of his disciples, but five times in his gospel, John refers to himself as "the disciple whom Jesus loved."
But it's been a while, at least 50 years since Jesus' resurrection and ascension. Life has been difficult for John as persecution is increasing in the Roman Empire. At the time of his writing The Book of Revelation, John is an aged and wounded man, exiled to spend his last days on the isle of Patmos.
Suddenly, as John is in worship on The Lord's Day, Jesus appears (Revelation 1:9-20). That reunion gave John some important reminders about their relationship.
"To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen."Revelation 1:5-8
"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." Revelation 1:5-8
The Book of Revelation charts a triumphant but turbulent future for the people of God. These reminders from our resurrected Christ help hold us faithful.
Jesus loves us. That is good to know in a world that is often unlovely nor loving.
Jesus freed us from our sins by his blood. The Book of Revelation reveals the gruesome fate of the rebels of God as they suffer His wrath and judgment. It is good to know you are redeemed.
Jesus has transformed us into a group of people who belong to God, serve God, and bring glory to God as a kingdom of priests.
John reminds us that Jesus is returning and that His return will be visible, vengeful, and victorious. We must be ready!
Maybe it's been a while since you've seen Jesus. Read Revelation 1 and get reacquainted with Him. Be reminded of what He has done for you. It is important for your present and can influence your future.
Bible Study and Challenge
Read Revelation 1.
- How does this passage encourage you to praise Jesus?
- How does this passage encourage you to pray today?
- Write out some essential truths about Jesus this passage teaches us.
Make a journal entry of 3 things that are discouraging you. How does the reminders about our relationship with Jesus encourage you? Share with someone this week at least one of those ways that the vision of Jesus in Revelation has encouraged you. Perhaps it will encourage them.