Revelation - Week 3
Summary: The centering image, and reality, of Revelation is that the savior of the world, Jesus, is the conquering lamb that was slain. If we don't understand the lamb, we don't understand or know how to live in the kingdom of God.
Revelation 21:1-7, 22-27
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”[a] for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes.There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!”Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
22 I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple.23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it. 25 On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there. 26 The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it.27 Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
22 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life,bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
The shocking surprise, the twist of Revelation, is the that God who conquers and defeats all the empires of this world, evil, the demonic, sin, and death itself, is the Lamb who was slain.
What does the Lamb teach us?
- Salvation - Jesus, the lamb, was slain for the salvation of the world. This self sacrificial love is the true face of God and the central reality for our relationship with God. God loves us in the most extraordinary way, and died that we might live. This is a book that reveals God's love for us.
- Power - Jesus is the power of God to heal the world and defeat the powers corrupting it, but Jesus reveals a surprising way in which power works in the Kingdom of God. Instead of destroying through violence, or conquering with a great army, God conquers through self sacrificial love. Jesus lowers himself to be the Lamb who was slain, in order to exert the power of love.
- Judgement - Revelation ends with various pictures of God's judgment on Satan, sin, death, violence, and empires. The judge is the Lamb. The Lamb judges all the brokenness of this world and restores all things as heaven and earth meet in final victory. The love of the Lamb is judgment on all other ways. There is only one way for the Holy God, who was, who is, and who is yet to come, and that is the way of the Lamb.
Big Idea: God has chosen to bring salvation to and judgment on the brokenness of this world through his sacrificial love as the Lamb that was slain.
The Way of the Lamb
- We have been made into the kingdom of God, by the love of the Lamb, and now we serve God as priests of the Lamb. Our way of life is the Way of the Lamb.
- The calling of Revelation is to be a faithful witness to the Lamb by living like the lamb.
- That means we must learn to love instead of hate, retaliate, or operate from positions of power over others
- We must live our life immersed in the ways of the Lamb, together as a community, or else we will, like the churches in Revelation, be assimilated into the ways of the world.
- We have to be able to identify, in our lives, where we are living like the world instead of the Lamb
- How long does it take you, in relationships with those close to you, to revert to power over, coercion, anger, bitterness, and treating them like something to be fixed, instead of the gracious love of the Lamb?
- How do you feel about your enemies? Those who oppose you? Those with different political views? Those who have hurt you and betrayed you? What good news does the Lamb have for these relationships?
- We cannot learn the way of the Lamb on our own. We desperately need a community of people who know us, can speak truth to us, and who are searching after Christ also. Do you have such a community? What can you give up in order to have one? Time? Control? Fear?