Here we are at the end. The last chapter of the New Testament. My last post on a reading. I will post once more tomorrow in an effort to wrap things up.
Today’s chapter couldn’t be a better end. It really shouldn’t be a surprise that the greatest Author of all ended His book in such a fitting way. This is a great ending to Revelation and a great ending to the New Testament.
John takes us back to where he started. Back at the beginning of the book Jesus called on the seven churches of Asia Minor to decide which way they would go. Would they become so enculturated that they compromised all that was distinctive about Jesus? Or would they stand out as different people who serve a different Lord, even if it did mean persecution as a result? Today, Jesus calls on his audience one more time to make that same decision:
God’s blessings on those who wash their clothes, so that they may have the right to eat from the tree of life and may enter the city by its gates. But the dogs, the sorcerers, the fornicators, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves to invent lies — they will all be outside. (22:14-15)
Lest, we think Jesus speaks with indifference, we are also reminded of the immense love of God that wants all to come into His city:
The spirit and the bride say, “Come!” and let anyone who hears say, “Come!” Let the thirsty come; let anyone who wants the water of life take it freely. (22:17)
Revelation has taken us from where we are, facing the many manifestations of evil that surround us, to a place of hope that life will soon be different. Life is held in God’s hands as the true King all all things, still Revelation has never taken away our freedom. We, the saints, must decide who we will be in this world.
And it is true. Whether it was Jesus preaching from the Mount or defending himself before Pilate. Whether we stood with the crowds in Jerusalem on Pentecost as Peter preached the first sermon of the church. Whether it was the teachings of Paul, James, or John. The point was always the same: We must decide. Who will we be?