Revelation 1:4-8 (the New Testament reading for Kingdom 4, or the Sunday before Advent) starts off with the offer of free gifts. Not a bad strategy, but are they worth having – you judge:
Grace and peace to youRevelation 1:4
this is not just God being nice to us who don’t deserve it (good!) 0 the experience of God’s grace, but also we are given grace. I wonder if we take that seriously enough? Peace – again, not only are we no longer in rebellion against God, but we are given peace, not to worry about everything ?! This is not at all bad, and not finished:
who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his bloodRevelation 1:5
To be loved, and to be set free – that’s 4 free gifts in 8 verses – its enough to get you in the habit of Bible-Reading! But there’s more. There is a good deal here about Jesus. We tend to think of Jesus the preacher and teacher, but this is later:
- “Jesus Christ, the faithful witness “ v5 – Jesus as the witness to God’s ways and nature, helping us to understand in Down to Earth ways.
- “the firstborn from the dead”, first, not the only one to be raised
- “the ruler of the kings of the earth” now in power, in the world we know
- “I am the Alpha and the Omega” the A-Z or first and last. The last Word, on us and all our problems and perplexities.
This is a different picture, and an important one – the Lord of power, who won the highest place by obedience in accepting the lowest. Free Gifts, from a Lord with power and honour, and then there’s us:
“He loves us “ v5 you can’t truly say that of many in power, but Jesus has demonstrated the point, and still does! “made us to be a kingdom and priests” ? we are all to bring people to God, and God to people; here we are told it is what we are for. Why? “to serve his God and Father” can you think of anyone better to serve? even yourself? (do you live up to his standard?)
So here we are, in Revelation, blessed with Free Gifts, given by a Risen and Powerful Lord, so that we may not live selfishly and idly, but be equipped and ready to serve God in a ministry to all the world.