18 August 2012Revelation 22:8-21
"The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come.' And let everyone who hears say, 'Come.' And let everyone who is thirsty come. Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift." (v. 17)
For those who read the Bible from cover to cover - from Genesis to Revelation - this is the finishing line. But in eagerness to cross it, it is easy and tempting to rush onwards. But in doing so, we can miss what today's passage has to say to us.
John the Divine (the author of Revelation) continues to pick up themes in the rest of Scripture. In verses 9 and 10, as he bows down before the angel, he is firmly put in his place. "You must not do that!" says the angel (v. 9). "Worship God!" It is God who should be the object and focus of worship, not an angel. Compare this to the Israelites in the wilderness as they choose to worship a golden calf (Exodus 32), rather than God.
When will they (and we) ever learn?
Faith and discipleship is not about following and worshipping something, it is about someone. It is not about obeying rules and regulations, it's about a relationship. It is a relationship with the one who lives, who teaches, who loves, who forgives, who offers us a new life and a new start. It is about a relationship with Jesus.
Despite all the horror and violence in the book, it ends with an invitation: "Come". "The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come'. And let everyone who hears say, 'Come'. And let everyone who is thirsty come." (v. 17)
It is an invitation from God; it is an invitation to God.
And what is the response? "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!" (v. 20)
- What lessons from God do you find difficult to learn? What helps you to try again?
- The invitation to come is not only from God, but from others ("And let everyone who hears say, 'Come'" (v. 18)). How can you offer that invitation to others?
- Reflect on these words: "Amen [so be it]. Come, Lord Jesus". What can you make these words your own?