With a royal wedding his weekend, the attention of the world is on London, England. It’s also Victoria Day weekend in Canada. And just a few weeks ago, everyone was excited because Prince William and Kate had their third baby. All things royal is certainly on people’s minds.
In Canada, living so far away from these events makes us feel a little out of touch, even though we appreciate them. Sure, the royals like to occasionally visit our country, but very few of us have any direct links with the royal family. None of us will attend the wedding, cards and flowers will be ignored, and we can’t call them up to congratulate them. It’s as if they are living in a different world.
The apostle John spoke of another kind of royalty in his Book of Revelation. He said the actual words of the book came from “Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us, and released us from our sins by His blood, and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father; to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1:5-6)
Jesus is far above any royal family in this world. While they don’t know it, Jesus even rules them. It’s the personal nature of Jesus’ rule that is so impressive. He gets involved with each of us. He loves each of us, paid the price to save us from our sins, and made us His own Kingdom. Each of us is a priest serving God. We can speak to Him any day of the week in prayer, and He listens. No wonder John exclaimed, “To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
The events in London are fascinating, but what we have with the King of kings is much more valuable and enduring. Some day He will welcome us into His home.
To Him be the glory!
– Tim Johnson
When John wrote his three short New Testament letters, he was an elderly man. It is highly likely that he was the last living apostle of Jesus Christ. He had contributed the Gospel of John, and the great book of victory, Revelation. The shortest of his letters is 2 John; it only has 13 verses. It would have been one of his final letters. As in the case of the book of Revelation, did he write it in exile on the island of Patmos? We can only speculate.
And what did the last apostle have to say in one of his last letters? He reminded us to love one another (v5), uphold the truth (v2), and refuse deceivers (v7-11). THE TRUTH dominates his thoughts. Everything dear to Christians is built upon it. Even love for one another is related to it; “…whom I love in truth” (v1).
It was a violent time in the Roman world and John writes in a discreet way. Rather than identify the congregation of the church that was to receive his letter, he calls them “the chosen lady and her children” (v1). A fellow congregation is mentioned as “the children of your chosen sister” (v13). It is John’s love for these churches that shines through the ages. He speaks of love four times in the letter. They were people in the Lord “whom I love in truth” (v1).
The challenge for us is not just to walk in truth, but to love the church as John did – and to love it in truth. Love without the truth is just sentiment. God calls us to a higher love for His people.
Our care for the church is not because our building is convenient or some of its members may be relatives. We love it for the sake of the truth, because its people know the truth and walk in it, and because the truth abides in them forever.
The last apostle laid down a challenge for all succeeding generations of Christians – love each other in truth.
– Tim Johnson
The Book of Revelation gives us many names for Jesus Christ, all of them designed to teach us something about Him. In the first chapter He’s called “the faithful witness” (v4), and repeated in 3:14. A witness, in a legal setting, is someone who confirms the truth of something they have seen. In the New Testament, a witness is someone involved in preaching what he has seen and knows. The apostles were witnesses of the resurrected Jesus, and as Peter explained in Acts 10:41-42, they were ordered to preach and testify this truth. This was often difficult because apostolic preachers regularly faced violence, opposition, and threats of imprisonment and death if they continued to preach as witnesses. Therefore Jesus urged them to be faithful in their important work as witnesses, despite the dangers. Continue reading
When the apostle John wrote the book of Revelation, Christians were distracted by the growing threat of Roman persecution. In it he faithfully recorded “all that he saw” from the great visions communicated to him by Jesus (1:2). These changed him, and he wanted his letter to comfort and change the brotherhood. So in his opening words he gave them a simple plan: “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.” (v3) Continue reading