“Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10)
John was incredibly blessed. His very name means “graced by God.” He of all the disciples was especially beloved by the Lord Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry. He was given long life, concluding with a breathtaking vision of the final victory of the Lamb of God and the saints. Indeed, Jesus’ words must have echoed in his head many times during this great Revelation: “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” (John 21:22)
And follow Jesus he did, although the words were not spoken directly to John. One of the greatest blessings John received during his life was to witness a vision of the Lord’s triumphant return. What comfort this must have brought the suffering saint – to see his Lord and Savior come back in the flesh and bring peace and rest to His people! How awesome to observe heaven and earth pass away as God Almighty made all things new! How he must have trembled with joy at the words: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” (Revelation 21:6-7)
John was living in dark times. Exiled, scorned, and deeply saddened by the state many in the Church had fallen into, John’s suffering undoubtedly caused him to watch carefully for the Last Day. But given his close relationship with Jesus while accompanying Him on His ministry, I would expect that John looked forward to that day with all the more longing as he anticipated a personal reunion with his Lord and Savior.
Like John, we yearn for the Lord’s return. Yes, we would like to see an end to the darkness and corruption of this fallen world. Yes, we want to see the old order of things pass away, watching the renewal of the Church of God and the end of all suffering. But I think I better understand where John’s desire came from as I imagine falling into my Savior’s embrace at last and picture my children run laughing up to Him to be held and touched by the Son of God.
Despite the darkness and suffering of this world, I can’t help but smile at this vision; the final victory – our reunion with God forever. John’s great blessing is passed on to us today as we look forward to that day when we receive the crown of life from our gracious and merciful God. Then, all God’s warriors will rest. The heroes of the faith will have their reward in the person of Jesus, who is even now our comfort and assurance – our joy made complete when we see Him face to face.
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
“Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (Revelation 21:3-4)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, You have given me Your Spirit and Your own Son as my comfort and reward as I toil through this life. Grant me the grace to remain strong and faithful, bearing witness to You through Your Word. In Your mercy, continue to grant faith and belief to many more souls during this time of tribulation, that they too may honor and glorify You now and forevermore; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, my Lord – my strength and joy and sure reward! Amen!