Revelation 1:4-8, 17-18 - John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead, and the Ruler of kings on earth. To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of Him. Even so. Amen. "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." ... When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying, "Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the Living One. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades."
How God provides for His church in His Word! This is truly one of the most spectacular texts in the whole Bible. Here John has an awesome vision of Jesus that is meant to be shared with seven specific churches in Asia Minor and, in turn—down through the ages—with us. And what a message it is!
We've just spent time in these devotions pondering the last weeks of Jesus' ministry in the season of Lent. During that time we considered His words of encouragement to His disciples. We read how He comforted them and told them that His death was not His final act but, rather, His victory over the powers of darkness. And all this was done that in Jesus we might have peace in God's Son who overcame the world for us (see John 16).
God gives us His peace. In this world so filled with tension and uncertainties, God has stepped into our lives. This He did in the life of His Son who loves us and gave Himself for us (see Galatians 2:20). This is the message of victory John received to pass along to those seven churches—that Jesus is God's "faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead, the Ruler of kings on earth."
This is God's message for us, too. Twenty centuries later these words are as fresh and full of life as they were when John first heard them on the isle of Patmos. Jesus will come again—in God's time. This is what the early churches needed to hear—that He who is the First and Last, the One who "has freed us from our sins by His blood and made us a kingdom," it is He who is coming back—and no other. And when He does, He will take us—His blood-bought children—to live and be with Him forever.
WE PRAY: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word which rings out to us through the ages. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.
1. What new or fresh understanding did you take away from Lent this year?
2. How does knowing that Jesus has the keys of Death and Hades empower you?
3. How does God catch the attention of and speak to His church today?
To Download Devotion MP3 to your computer, right click here and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" or "Download Linked File As"