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March 29

4 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, 6and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever 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.
Revelation 1:4-7

Here in the closing book of the Bible and the wrapping up of history we have the “Revelation,” or the “unveiling” (apocalypse) of who Jesus really is. The Apostle John has hardly begun recording the great revelation given to him but that at the name of Jesus he is moved to praise and adoration: “To him who loves us and free us from our sins by his blood?…

As John writes of Jesus’ love he writes as one with firsthand experience. He is not writing about some religious figure that he has heard about, but someone with whom he walked for three years, saw crucified, resurrected, and ascended to heaven. John’s own life was so transformed by the love of Christ that John has become known as “the Apostle of love.” John was boldly confident of Jesus’ love for us all. He walked with an “apostolic swagger” (C. Baxter Kruger).

We can’t help but notice the present tense of Jesus’ love expressed here: “To him who loves us?…” John means that right now, in this present moment, Jesus is  loving us! Jesus poured out his love for us at the cross and loves us now, and loves us into eternity!

John chooses his verb tenses carefully in order to express the wondrous truth of the cross. Jesus’ love for us continues into the present tense, but in the past tense “freed us from our sins by his blood“. That means that our guilt is finished, a thing of the past! Finis! Mission accomplished! But his love for us goes on forever.

And through his cross Jesus has “made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Yes John, “Amen and amen!” Jesus has made us a part of a royal priesthood with full access to the Father and proclaiming the love of Jesus for us all.


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