by Craig Heidenreich
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Do not be afraid (Revelation 1:17b).
I often avoid reading from the Book of Revelation because I find all the apocalyptic imagery somewhat confronting. Having said that, there are amazing sections in this book – today’s passage is a vision of the Risen Lord in all his power and glory.
Who could stand before those blazing eyes and that mighty sword coming from his mouth? John’s response was to fall to the ground.
Whenever the Lord or an angel appears to someone in Scripture, they usually start with the words ‘fear not’ – and with good reason.
Thankfully, as we ponder this description of our Lord in his fearsome glory, we remember that Jesus loves us and has washed us in his own blood.
As we watch the daily news reports, it can look like humans are running things. Some wealthy billionaire seems so powerful, or a dictator starts a war that causes untold misery. The truth is that everything has been placed under our Lord’s feet, and he is ruling over the nations.
Interestingly, Jesus directs his attention here to a group of churches he is using to bring his kingdom. The subsequent two chapters have the seven letters that Jesus dictates to John. As we read these letters, we can well imagine what Jesus would write to us.
Chapter two of Revelation starts with a letter to the church in Ephesus, and this church seems to bear some striking similarities to our Lutheran experience. Let us consider the main points Jesus makes in the letter to the church of Ephesus.
He starts by commending them for their endurance and perseverance and for how they were careful to seek the truth. Paul had launched this church and taught them well. Apparently, the Apostle John was a member, along with Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Timothy. What could go wrong?
‘I have this against you! You have left your “first love” – repent and do the things you did at first.’
Let us learn from the experience of the Ephesian church and remember our love for Jesus.
Lord, you are a mighty God, and you rule the nations. It is amazing that you love us so much. Help us tune into your heart and obey you today. Amen.
Craig enjoys making friends with people from other countries and trying to learn a few words of greeting in their languages. He says it’s fun to see the joy on a person’s face to hear their mother tongue. When he has some spare time, he is happy renovating the home he recently purchased in Kapunda, South Australia.