On Thursday, we began to take a look at how the book of Revelation, and specifically the first chapter, can enrich our celebration of Jesus’ birth this year. We saw that the entire book of Revelation is just that: A revealing of who Jesus Christ truly is; and what better way to celebrate the greatest birth in history than by meditating on Who that birth signifies?
Today, as we continue to work through Revelation 1, I would like to take a couple of things into consideration.
First of all, let’s remember that at the time John was given this book, Jesus had been gone from the Earth for quite some time. Many sources indicate that the book was written towards the end of the 1st century, often pinpointing 96 AD. Keeping in mind that Jesus was crucified and raised to life around 33 AD, and that He ascended to Heaven before Pentecost of that same year, this means that at least 60 years had gone by since John had seen Jesus in the flesh.
Secondly, let’s remember that John refers to himself in his gospel 6 times as “the apostle Jesus loved”. We also know that John was a member of Jesus’ inner circle of three disciples. John was one of the three shown Jesus’ transfiguration (Matthew 17), and while on the cross, Jesus even asked John to take care of His mother. It would be safe to say that while Jesus was on this earth, He and John were very close friends!
Thus, with these two things in mind, we can say that the vision John received while on the Isle of Patmos was, among other things, a reunion! It was the bringing together once again of two very close friends, separated by a span of 60 years.
Can you imagine what it might be like to be reunited with a childhood bestie after 60 years? And what if that childhood bestie was now a great, beloved and powerful leader? And that BFF has just taken the time from his or her busy schedule to seek you out! It would be a time of celebration, for sure! One that would definitely make it to your social media page! And I suspect that those posts would say some pretty nice things about that childhood friend! You’d want the world to know about your wonderful friend, and especially that you have been reunited!
Should it be any wonder to us that John had so many beautiful things to say about Jesus? After all, not only is Jesus worthy of all those things, but it was one of His best friends, separated by 60 years, who received the vision! Let’s look at what John has to say: “Grace and peace to you from the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come; from the sevenfold Spirit before his throne; and from Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world. All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.” (Revelation 1:4-6 NLT).
That sounds like cause for a major celebration to me!
Unlike John, we have never walked with Jesus in person. We’ve never talked to Him face to face. And chances are, most of us will never receive a vision of Him in the near future. We do experience Him, however, and for most of us, the reason we don’t experience Him more often has nothing to do with Him not being there. Rather, it is because we don’t seek Him. Or when we do seek Him, it is with a proud heart or a demanding spirit with selfish motivations. It certainly isn’t always with total humility that we fall to His feet. Perhaps what all of us need is a reunion with Jesus! Maybe we need to seek Him until we find Him, and when we do, we need to lay aside everything that we have for Him! “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.“ (Matthew 13:44 NKJV).
When we find Jesus, when we are the recipient of His miracles, when we feel His presence and receive His comfort and peace, shouldn’t we, like John, be proclaiming it to the world? It is, after all, perhaps the most important reunion we could ever have!
So what does this have to do with Christmas, the celebration of Jesus’ birth?
Just this: What better way to celebrate the greatest birth in History than to seek a reunion with the One whose birth we celebrate? Let’s seek Him with all of our heart, mind, soul and spirit this Christmas, and then let’s proclaim to the world of His goodness! Let’s let Christ become the centre of our celebration. Not just in name, but in spirit! Remember that you wouldn’t pass up a chance to see your childhood BFF who you haven’t seen in 60 years. Take the opportunity this Christmas to connect with Jesus as you’ve never connected before. Then you, too, will be able to declare, in the words of John after his reunion with Jesus: “All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us….All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.” (Revelation 1:5b,6b NLT)!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart
Author, Moderator, Acting Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries
(To access the entire “Christmas Revelations” mini-series, click here)