GETTING THE MESSAGE/The Lord will provide
The last verses in the book of Revelation (22:16-21) highlight the glory and deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus says He is “the root and the descendent of David, the bright morning star” (verse 16). Christ is David’s son (descendent) yet He is also David’s Lord (root). He is the promised ruler of God’s people forever, and He is full of glory.
He is also the redeemer of God’s people. The “bright morning star” shines in the darkness and means the day is about to dawn. Christ made a new day, a day of salvation and life. When He returns, there will be rejoicing among His people. Jesus promises in Revelation 2:28 to give the morning star to those who overcome the world by faith. He is promising Himself, everlasting life in Him. Peter uses these words to encourage Christians to pay careful attention to Christ’s word, as a lamp shining in a dark place.
Revelation 22:17 expresses both the desire of those who long for Christ’s coming and an invitation to come to Christ: “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’” The redeemed people of God desire the appearing of Christ in glory. This is a good test of our faith. Do you think it good that Christ come and receive the glory He deserves?
The Lord often compares spiritual thirst for Him with the body that is thirsty, longing for a drink of water. It is a blessed thing to long for Christ. We can say “come” to Him in three ways. We can say “come, Lord,” by way of salvation: “wash me; take away my sins, Lord.” We can say “come” as a Christian, longing for the spiritual refreshment of His Spirit. And we can say “come” with respect to the Lord’s return in glory to earth, which is the main focus of this passage.
The common element in this desire is it stems from hearing the word of Christ. The Lord says, “Let the one who hears.” If our minds are not set on things above where Christ is, then we need to listen to His word. A lack of thirsting after Christ is connected to our affections being on the world. The Lord draws our attention to Himself that we might seek after Him.
It is helpful and necessary that we remember Christ served us with His whole heart. We read that He “set his face like flint toward Jerusalem.” Those are blessed words to the sinner under the guilt and power of sin. Jesus was resolved to go to Jerusalem to suffer and die on the cross. It is by His atoning sacrifice that we can be accepted as righteous by God. Christ was willing because His heart was filled with love. So we should seek our joy in glorifying Him.
Everywhere Scripture sets forth to us the glory and greatness of salvation in Christ. When Christ was born, the angel announced, “Behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy.” As Christians, we rejoice at Christ’s coming into this world. How much more should we, having been redeemed by His blood, long for His coming back in glory, a glory He is worthy of that will fill our souls.
Revelation 22:18-19 warns us about adding to or taking away from Christ’s word. The warning is particular to Revelation, but it also applies to the whole of Scripture. The warning is severe. The Lord says the one who does so will not enter into His eternal city. Rather, he will suffer condemnation.
Scripture is sacred because it is God’s word and under His particular care. In it, we have what He intended for us to have. To distort, add to, or take away from it is to accuse Christ of being a false prophet. The devil uses Scripture for his own malevolent reason. We must be careful how we handle it. Those who teach have a higher accountability to the Lord. Those who distort will be found out.
Revelation ends with a promise and a benediction. The promise is, “Surely I am coming soon.” Nothing will prevent it. The Lord of glory will come in glory. And His people say, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” Amen is an affirmation of longing and trust. His coming is the fulfilment of all our hope.
The benediction is, “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all.” Grace to endure by faith, grace to be heavenly minded, grace to long for His appearing, grace, grace, grace. Nothing is to be desired more than the grace of Christ to prepare us for His appearing and to preserve us to it. The Bible ends with certainty the Lord will provide: “Amen.”
The Rev. Chris Shelton is pastor of Union’s First Presbyterian Church.