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The Journal

A big vision

Dear Friends,
During the month of January we commence a short series on the first 3 chapters of Revelation which look at the the 7 churches of Asia Minor. The first chapter reminds us that this is Jesus’ church and He is the Lord of His church and these are His letters to His churches. Jesus gives this vision to John, the apostle and He sends them to the 7 churches which are real churches but they are also messages to churches today. In Biblical terms the fact that there are 7 churches is symbolic of a completeness and so these messages are for the whole church. The opening chapter gives preeminence to Jesus who has purchased His people to serve Him 1:5-6. This is a powerful truth that our lives are not our own but are to be at God’s disposal. This Jesus is the ruler of the Kings of the earth and is our ruler and so we owe Him our allegiance. Almost immediately we are reminded that Jesus will be coming back 1:7 and it will be a day of judgement for those who have ignored the Lord Jesus. Indeed we are informed that people will mourn because of Him and this points to the fact that there will be great grief and regret for those who have disregarded Him. In 1:12-18 the vision which John receives of Jesus is of one who is powerful with white hair symbolising one from ancient times and His eyes are like blazing fire. He sees everything and nothing can escape His gaze. Though He is one like the son of man His description also points to the fact that He is God who is the First and the Last and holds the keys of hades and death which is a description of God 
Himself. In 1:17 John’s response to the vision of Jesus is to fall down as though dead. His only hope is the word of consolation which Jesus offers which is Do not be afraid. Jesus can offer this word of hope because He has dealt with our sin and indeed has freed us from our sin. This is the great hope of the Gospel that even though we see our great sinfulness we are encouraged by the fact that Jesus has dealt with this through His death and we can now stand in God’s presence confident that we are His beloved children. We know that this vision was given to the early church at a time when persecution was taking place and this was to encourage the church to remain faithful 1:1-3 by showing His servants what must soon take place. It is a great encouragement that though we do not know the future God does and He prepares and strengthens us for what is ahead. As we begin this new year of 2018 we can be confident that God has prepared us for what lies ahead and has also been strengthening us in faith. His purpose for us is that we will be a kingdom of priests whose purpose and task is to declare the goodness and glory of God in the Gospel and to call people to repentance and faith. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara