Summary: The Book of Revelation tells us to lean into our faith in a Christ who holds the future in his hands. Nothing can frustrate his eternal will, and that eternal will includes us who will be spending eternity with him in his eternal kingdom here on earth.
A minister and his wife were on their way home on a Sunday evening. He was tired because he preached five times that day. His wife asked a question to which he answered in anger. Immediately he felt conviction and apologized to his wife.
He said, “Forgive me. I’m quite tired. I’ve preached five times today.”
His wife replied, “Yes, Dear, I know, but remember, I’ve had to listen to you five times today.”
Today is Reign of Christ Sunday. It marks the end of the church year, so it is the church’s version of New Year’s Eve. It is the day when we remember that Christ is our King and that He will return one day to claim his kingdom here on earth.
It is not an ancient festival in the Christian calendar. In fact, it was only established by Pope Pius XI in 1925. It was established at a time when Europe was in chaos. Inflation was rampant, and colonialism was at its worst. The seeds of evil that would eventually grow into the Holocaust and World War II were being planted. Pope Pius XI established the Festival of Christ the King to declare that Jesus Christ is King
The Book of Revelation is the story of Jesus himself. After the opening greeting, John gives us a prophetic description of Christ’s Second Coming. Although each of the seven churches received a special letter from Christ through the Book of Revelation, each congregation could read what was written to the others because everything was contained in one large letter. God’s people have the same advantage today. To have the same perspective of the divine Head of the church is convicting. Modern churches could solve some of the problems they face today by reading God’s recommendations to each of the seven churches.
When sinners come to Christ in faith, they receive eternal salvation through God’s grace. We don’t have to do anything or promise anything. Salvation is God’s gift to us. This new relationship with Christ will overcome any trials we have in this life, just like Christ overcame death. This new relationship is due to the work of the Holy Trinity.
All three members of the Trinity-Father, Son and Holy Spirit-were involved in the creation of the Book of Revelation, including the passage we heard from Revelation 1:4-8 earlier in today’s service. John refers to God as “the One who is and who was and who is to come.” God is in control of our unpleasant past, our unnerving present and our uncertain future. Jesus has the authority to rule as the promised King from the line of David. The Holy Spirit represents God and gives us wisdom, understanding, advice, strength, knowledge and fear of the Lord. We can take comfort in the knowledge that Jesus reigns now and forever during the good times and the bad times.
Jesus is described as the one who loved, loosened and lifted the people up. The word “washed” could be more literally translated as “loosed” or “freed.” John 11:44 describes Lazarus as being loosed from his grave clothes. The word also recalls that the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. Jesus has likewise freed believers from their sin. He conquered death and gave us new life. Consequently we can share his authority as Priest and King through our union with him through the Holy Spirit.
In our present, sin-filled world, guilt is something we avoid. We run from it frantically, drown it in alcohol, escape from it through entertainment, talk about it to a therapist, blame it on someone else or suppress it through mental gymnastics, but we can’t avoid it. It’s like a stain that won’t come out of our clothes no matter how many times we wash them or what type of detergent we use. Salvation is God’s gift to undeserving sinners such as us. We must never forget that. This grace gives us a relationship that offers us true peace and that peace helps us overcome any problems we face. Jesus is the only thing that can wash away our sins. God has given us a conscience with a guilt alarm that goes off when sin enters so that we will go to Jesus for cleansing.
When people are shuffling for power, prestige and wealth, Jesus reigns. He is the only person who can get rid of the plagues of terrorism, poverty, crime and disease. If we let Christ be our King, we don’t have to be kings. We don’t have to rule our world. We also don’t have to let things such as money or fame rule our lives. These things can’t make our lives worth living. Only Jesus makes our lives worth living. Jesus gives us our greatest freedom-freedom from death. That freedom gives us the freedom to live. In return, we are called to serve until Christ returns to claim his earthly kingdom.