Living In the Gap
Holy Spirit of God, hear me as I pray. Take my faltering words and turn them into songs of praise to You.
Read REVELATION 1:9-20
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
Here is “a magnificent Christ, described in such a way that everything, absolutely everything, is imaginatively subordinated to him” (Eugene Peterson).
When I collect my 9-year-old daughter from her piano lessons she is often looking out the window in eager anticipation, until she sees me and leaps up in excitement. If I am late and have tested her patience, she lets me know! John is clear that the Christian life is one that requires patience, because of the gap between the reality of the present and our expectation of the future. In the present we experience “suffering” as a result of being “in Jesus” (9). This was Jesus’ own consistent teaching: we receive God’s blessing when we live so faithfully to him that others give us trouble (Matt. 5:10,11), and anyone who wants to follow him must walk his way of suffering and self-sacrifice (Mark 8:34). Paul, too, taught that “we must go through many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).
We also experience a foretaste of the future—the Kingdom of God which has broken into the present in anticipation of what is to come. It is probably a mistake to read v. 19 as a three-part plan to Revelation (as NIV suggests). Rather, John’s vision is twofold (as in TNIV), concerning both the reality of the world as it is, and how to live in that reality in the light of God’s future for the world. The key to living in this gap is the person of Jesus. He is the one who walks among the lampstands, which represent the congregations. The lampstands resemble the Jewish seven-branched candelabrum, the menorah, but the congregations now have a distinctive, Gentile, diversity! The Lord Jesus holds the stars in his hand. His priestly presence, representing us to God, and also carrying the word of God to us in his angelic voice, gives a sure-footed confidence and casts away any clouds that might obscure the light of God’s blessing.
Ask others to pray that you will experience everything you need to live for Christ in patience and hope.
Risen, exalted Lord Jesus, when I consider You, I am struck dumb, silent before who You are. You are the true source of all my blessing and hope.