shepherding the shepherd
I imagine John deep in prayer when a voice like a bugle broke into his reverie, commanding him to write what he was about to see and to dispatch it to the seven churches, our congregations’ spiritual forebears. When John turned “to see the voice” he saw “one like a son of man,” among the lampstands—Jesus Christ among his churches “depicted as shining lights for God in the midst of a hostile world,” as Grant Osborne put it.
It has been our privilege to show raggedy, stained sinners the path we ourselves followed to the laundry of the Lord. Through friendships, counsel, and preaching we offered them the bleach of the Lamb’s blood. We waited while they changed and saw them come out whiter than snow, dressed in the unblemished righteousness of Christ.
Pastors, when our turn comes to expound this book the real blessing for our people will not be the tours we conduct through John’s visions but in the words we help them obey.
Pastors spend a good part of our ministry telling our fellow Christians, “You and I are not what we seem! We are more; much, much more!” We share an astonishing identity even now and will inherit an unimaginable destiny.
This fourth beatitude of Revelation reaches back to touch the first Passover meal, the Last Supper, and all the times the people of God have received Communion. But it is also the bright-eyed hope of a bride counting down the days till our waiting is over.
Only God knows if you or I will ever personally be caught up in the upheaval of Armageddon but, regardless, our King tells us to remain awake and dressed, ready for Christ’s sudden return.