Have you ever stared at a piece of art appreciating the beautiful colour and admiring the artist's technique, mesmerised by the attention to detail - but then you step back and ask, “but what does this mean?” That’s often the reaction people have to John’s visions in Revelation upon first reading.
But for this particular vision, we find some clarity to its meaning. Hope, unity, and victory in Christ are clearly brushed into this vision. And that final community, brought into lasting unity at the end of time, is because of Jesus. And that’s not just an end of time promise, it begins today because Jesus is with us, even now.
How does this promise play itself out practically in our lives, in our community? Dietrich Bonhoeffer, that wonderful German theologian and martyr at the hands of Nazi Germany, wrote a small book to seminarians in the underground church in Germany during Nazi occupation. He offers several insights on how the community of Jesus works. And although he’s thinking of a male group of prospective ministers, his wisdom applies to all the church! Here are four ministries that each of us are meant to live into to uphold honest Jesus community:
1. The Ministry of Holding One’s Tongue - “Often we combat our evil thoughts most effectively if we absolutely refuse to allow them to be expressed in words. (James 3:2, Psalm 50:20-21, James 4:11-12, Ephesians 4:29)
2. The Ministry of Meekness - “he who would learn to serve must first learn to think little of himself.”
3. The Ministry of Listening - “The first service that one owes to others in the fellowship consists in listening to them. Just as love to God begins with listening to His Word, so the beginning of love for the brethren is learning to listen to them. It is God’s love for us that HE not only gives us His Word but also lends us His ear. So it is His work that we do for our brothers when we learn to listen to him.”
4. The Ministry of Bearing - “We must suffer and endure the brethren. It is only when he is a burden that another person is really a brother and not merely an object to be manipulated.” (Galatians 6:3)
This ministry of unity in community is the promise and gift of Jesus. None of this we do in vain. Step closer and discover the detail in this vision that directly affects you and the people in your life: Jesus will be shared with every tribe nation on the earth and in every language. A “great multitude that no one could count” will believe and will confess that their sins have been washed away by Jesus and will stand in unity before Jesus, clothed in forgiveness and grace praising the Lamb.
Will you be a part of this “great multitude”?
Do you believe God tells the truth?
Do you believe that Jesus truly is the only way to life?
Take time and bring what’s on your heart and mind, and pray our upcoming Sunday prayer: