For some people, Revelation is a book of horrors and nightmares, but I want to convince you otherwise. We have 6 readings from Revelation in the next 6 weeks, and they have some positive things to say. So Revelation 1:4-8 starts off with the offer of free gifts. Not a bad strategy, but are they worth having? – you judge:
“grace and peace be yours from God” verse 4
Not just God being nice to us, although we don’t deserve it (good!), 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 ?! not bad, and not finished:
“by his sacrificial death he has freed us”
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 “
to God’s ways and nature, which we need to know about;
“first to be raised from death”
The first, not only one who will be resurrected.
“ruler of the kings”
Now in power, exercising great power, in a way we still need to learn about.
“first and last”
Alpha and Omega, the A-Z of the Greek alphabet. We might say something like “Pioneer and Last Word”.
Was . . Is . . is to come.
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 “
You can’t truly say that of many in power, but Jesus has demonstrated the point, and still does!
“made us a kingdom of 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. Surely that is worth paying attention to?