Bible Book: Revelation / Openbaring
Verse (to): 21
Text: Revelation 22:12-21
The Bible ends with warnings, admonishments and assurances. Two of these assurances caught my attention while I was reading this passage: On the one hand there is the assurance that TOGETHER with the bride the Spirit calls: “come” (verse 17a). And, on the other hand, we are given the assurance that the Lord Jesus heeds the call and answers: “Surely I am coming soon” (verse 20).
Although John writes about the “bride” in Rev 22:20 it does not mean that this call for the bridegroom to come is altogether one of joy and excitement as on a wedding day. The bride is the “seven churches in Asia” (Rev 1:4) to whom this revelation has been sent as a message of encouragement in their time of distress. Therefore the prayer “Come, Lord Jesus!” (verses 17 and 20) contains an element of anguish. For those calling to Christ in their suffering this passage gives the assurance: The Spirit prays with the bride in her darkest hour.
This comforting assurance that the Spirit prays with the bride and that Christ answers this prayer remind me of Rom 8:26. Here Paul explains that when we find ourselves in situations where we do not even know how to make our grief, anxiety, fear, yearning, etc known to God there is no need to be discouraged. The Spirit who lives in us knows how to pray these prayers for which we do not find the words. And we can know that God hears and answers the “sighs too deep for words”, says Paul in verse 27.
There is, however, also an element of excitement in Revelation 22. For the hope that the Spirit brings into our lives does not disappoint (compare Rom 5:5). It is this excitement of the bride hoping for the bridegroom to come that keeps her calling again and again. And then it turns into an invitation to others. It becomes a call to all who thirst. Stirring up memories of God’s wonderful invitations like Isaiah 55:1-3, Micah 4:2 and Matthews 11:28-30, John ends his letter to the church by opening the door to all who thirst to come and drink the water of life.
When “AIDS Memorial Sunday” reminds us of many who have died as a result of the AIDS pandemic we may know that the Spirit prays with us. We may call on Christ to come and bring an end to this pandemic and also invite all to come and drink “the water of life without a price” (Rev 22:17).
To think about (or discuss): In what way does the knowledge that Christ is coming back to this world change the way we think and what we do?
Author: N du Toit (Ds)