“Come, Lord Jesus!” – Revelation 21-22
Easter 7 – May 13, 2018
1. Revelation review
Finish off consideration of book of Revelation. We’ve heard about Jesus’ majestic appearance
and His divine character in John’s vision. We heard about the good news and bad news in the
letters to the seven churches. We had a vision of heaven filled with angels, and we heard the
beginning of the great unending hymn of praise to God. Last week we heard about the
counterfeit things of the devil but also about the final victory of Jesus, the King of kings and
Lord of lords. Today, we’ll explore the last two chapters of Revelation.
2. Revelation 21 – picture of heaven
In Revelation 21, we see another picture of heaven. Actually it is described as a new heaven and
a new earth – because the present heaven and earth created by God has been cursed by sin and
would not be a fit home for the resurrected and righteous saints.
First image – bride beautifully dressed. Women… this is for you. Seriously. If you’re tired of all
those Bible verses that say things like “You are all SONS of God through faith in Christ,” and
“God wants MEN everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer,” then this one is for you. Because…
God is saying here that all believing people who make up the church – including MEN – will be
beautifully dressed as… a BRIDE… for ALL ETERNITY!!!
Do you or I or anyone deserve that adornment? Let’s ask the question a different way… Would a
woman who has sold her body to many men for years deserve a joyous wedding complete with
white wedding dress and banquet? No… that would seem inappropriate for the intent of a
celebration joining two people in heart, body and mind. But that’s exactly what God asked the
prophet Hosea to do – take an adulterous woman for his wife, and then to take her back again
even though she had committed adultery after their marriage. It was meant to be a lived-out
parable of God’s faithfulness as a groom to His adulterous and idolatrous people as His bride.
Let me ask again… Do you or I or anyone deserve that adornment of a heavenly wedding dress?
No… we are all sinners. We have all turned away from God in our own ways, with our words,
with our actions, with our spiritual adultery. But nonetheless John’s vision pictures us as clothed
in that wedding garment. Earlier in Revelation 7 those in white robes were described as those
whose lives had been washed white in the blood of the lamb. So, it is Jesus, Himself, who makes
you and me pure and white and holy, prepared as a bride.
John’s vision goes on to say that God will make everything new: no more mourning, crying or
pain. Not even any more death!!
God will make His dwelling with us. Greek word used is same one used to refer to OT
tabernacle/tent which represented God’s presence with Israelites. And the same word used to
describe Jesus’ incarnation: “The Word became flesh and dwelt (tented) among us.” God who
dwelt among His people in the person of His Son Jesus, will actually and personally and
eternally dwell with His people and be our God, and we will finally, truly be His people –
without sin or death to get in the way.
b. Holy City
Second image in Revelation 21 is that of a holy city:
12 gates – names of the 12 tribes of Israel
12 foundation stones – names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb
Thus, as we have heard before – heaven will be populated with the full complement of OT
people (those who had faith in the promise of the Messiah) & NT people (those who had faith in
the fulfillment of that promise in Jesus).
Streets of gold, pearly gates, foundations of precious stones – so the entire city reflects the very
glory of God, Himself.
Alpha Joke – spelling Czechoslovakia.
God is further described as heaven’s source of light.
Mention is made again of the Lamb’s book of life. No one will be in heaven without their name
having being written in that heavenly ledger book.
The description of heaven continues as we move into the first few verses of the last chapter:
River of water of life.
Tree of life.
Book of life, river of life, tree of life… That’s a lot of LIFE… but then again, death had been
defeated and was no more.
People will see God’s face!! (A few OT stories about not seeing God face to face and living.)
God’s name will be on their foreheads – indicating their identity, their sense of belonging.
What an encouraging way to end the Bible! What an encouraging way to picture heaven!
3. Revelation 22
a. “I am coming soon”
Then we come to the essence of that last chapter of the book, and of the Bible.
Last few verses… speak of Jesus’ return, His second coming. (spoken originally in 2 of the
letters to the churches)
v. 7 – “I am coming soon.”
v. 12 – “I am coming soon.”
v. 17 – Spirit and Bride (Church) say, “Come!” Let those who hear say, “Come!”
v. 20 – Jesus repeats “I am coming soon.” And final prayer… “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”
Jesus’ return is one of the key teachings of our Christian faith. Jesus’ promise to return “to judge
the living and the dead,” is something we confess regularly in the Apostles’ Creed, and it is well
Acts 1 – Jesus’ ascension (Thursday) angels’ report… Jesus is coming back again.
Luke 21 – Jesus: “You will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
1 Thessalonians 4 – The Lord will descend from heaven with the sound of a trumpet.
2 Thessalonians 1 – talks about Jesus coming on that day to be glorified in His saints.
Jesus’ comings shape our church year. We start with the Advent / Christmas seasons which
celebrate Jesus’ first coming as the newborn Saviour in Bethlehem. The Church year ends with
consideration of Jesus’ second coming – in the clouds of glory, with the sound of a trumpet, as
the King of kings and Lord of lords. In the olden days, that last Sunday of the Church Year was
called “Christ the King” Sunday. Now, just Last Sunday or Sunday of the Fulfillment (of all
b. Impatient or patient?
James 5:7-9 – the Lord’s coming is near… be patient (1900+ years ago)
2 Peter 3 – (again… late 1 st century) some scoff – where is this coming He promised? They were
impatient, which led to bitter unbelief. Peter affirms: “The Lord is not slow – 1000 years = 1
day. He is patient, wanting everyone to come to repentance.”
Are you waiting – patiently or impatiently – for the Lord to return? Last week we talked about
the growing evil of the world. It can be hard sometimes to wait for Jesus to return and to put an
end to all the sinful things happening. There are days when we fervently pray that “Come, Lord
Jesus” prayer of the second to last verse of the Bible. We just wish it would all be over and we
could be with the Lord eternally. If that’s the way you feel, you’re in good company.
St. Paul’s desire was to depart and to be with the Lord. He grew weary of the hardships and
sufferings and imprisonments that he faced as he served the Lord. He catalogs those dangers in 2
Corinthians 11, and a chapter later adds the mention of his thorn in the flesh, but he concludes it
all with God’s sustaining promise: “My grace is sufficient for you.” Sometimes departing this
life to be with the Lord is the desire of a loved one who feels useless, sick, like life doesn’t have
anything more to offer, and they don’t have anything more to offer to life or family. They might
even ask that question of God from a place of faith: “Why is God keeping me here? I’m ready to
die.” [Wayne Poirier’s prayer] While we struggle to answer those difficult “why” questions,
acknowledging with St. Paul, who wrote in another context “Who has known the mind of the
Lord?” we also leave in the wise and loving hands of God the issues of life and death, trusting
that for us and for our loved ones, God’s grace is sufficient.
And if we truly wonder why Jesus’ return is being delayed, we go back to the words of God
through Peter: “God wants everyone to come to repentance… and faith.”
So that delay is really to offer us time and opportunity to keep Great Commandment: love our
neighbour, be Christ to them.
And that delay is really to offer us time and opportunity to keep the Great Commission: spread
the name of Jesus, be His witnesses so that others will come to believe.
Ultimately, that delay in coming is truly God’s grace so that more people repent of their sins, and
come to faith and are saved.
c. Fear or joy?
And that leads us to one last thing. As we consider Jesus’ promise to return, does that fill us with
fear or joy? As we recite that phrase of the Apostles’ Creed – “He will come to judge the living
and the dead” – do we picture Jesus’ as a judge or as a Saviour? Friday’s Portals of Prayer
devotion addressed this thought. It said that in Luther’s day, the church focused on Jesus as our
judge, and that Luther, Himself, was terrified of God as a judge because, try as he might, he
couldn’t live the perfect life that God’s Law demands. Any one of us who honestly looks into the
mirror of God’s law will, like Luther, discover our utter inability to keep it. It leads us to repent
and say, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
So, what of Jesus returning to be our judge? For those who have faith in Him, Jesus will judge us
– not by our actions, but by His own. He kept all of God’s laws perfectly, never sinning once,
and His holy, righteous life will cover ours. He comes then, not only as judge, but also as
Saviour, and ESPECIALLY as Saviour. That means that, as we consider Jesus’ words – “I am
coming soon” – we can welcome His return with joy rather than fear, and we can pray those
words with confidence, “Come, Lord Jesus.” Amen.