Revelation 1:1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place; he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear and who keep what is written in it; for the time is near. 4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 7 Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen. 8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.
This letter was written at a time when people were persecuted for giving their loyalty to Jesus rather than to the Roman Emperor. It uses language normally reserved for the Emperor: phrases such as “ruler of the kings of the earth” and “to him be glory and dominion forever” have been transferred from the Roman Emperor to Jesus. These are revolutionary words that have put the followers of Jesus in danger. But they are to remain strong “for the time is near” when Jesus will return: “every eye will see him” and he will be established as “the Almighty”.
Advent is the annual opportunity to be reminded of this rich history.... and to be challenged about our own loyalties. The true essence of Christmas asks us to place the teachings of Jesus at the centre of all our decisions and subsequent actions. Revelation challenges us to be “faithful witnesses” to a Gospel that reminds us that the one who lived amongst the poor of the earth is the ruler of our consciences and actions.
Third Sunday in Advent
3.The Coming of Christ
The Scripture passage for the day is drawn from Reuben Job and Norman Shawchuck, A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants, (Nashville, The Upper Room 1983), 26.
This reflection is from my own devotional exercises for the day.