Pentecost 25 – Wednesday Devotion

Readings:  Daniel 5:1-30,  Daniel 7:1-8:27 and Revelation 21:9-27

Revelation 21:9-14 Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.

It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates, the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed—on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

 

“The Best of the Best”

It is rare to find a bride not dressed her best at her wedding.  She seeks to present the best of herself to her groom.  Think of the expense of preparations for her hair and makeup and also the white dress adorning her body.  There are often gasps as the bride enters the church. Joy and excitement embody those who attend.

How much greater the joy with the entrance and presentation of Christ’s Bride to Him? This Bride will be spotless, without blemish, washed in the Blood of the Lamb for eternal purity. Read again the words John recorded to give us a vision of this Bride. Radiance is like a most rare jewel, like crystal-clear jasper. Can you even begin to imagine the vision of this jewel before you? But there is more!

There are the twelve gates, the openings into the great city of God. Later in Revelation, we read that a single pearl forms each gate. The twelve apostles are the foundation of the city, each foundation a precious jewel: jasper, sapphire, agate, emerald, onyx, carnelian, chrysolite, beryl, topaz, chrysoprase, jacinth, and amethyst. And, if that isn’t enough, the street is pure gold!

Can you begin to imagine the beauty? The value of this city, this Bride, is beyond our imagination, and God gives it all to us.

Of what do these words remind us? There were those in the Old Testament who were believers. They held to the promises of God, knowing He was faithful and they were also faithful to Him. They looked forward to the fulfillment of God’s promise of a Savior spoken in Genesis 3:15. Jesus, son of Mary and Son of God, fulfilled that promise.

The New Testament Church also clung to the fulfillment of that promise. The Gospels reveal the earthly life of Jesus to us. Then the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles, the Letters, show how the Church continued to teach about Jesus and the resurrection. Finally in Revelation, John holds before us the vision of what will come in heavenly glory.

These words proclaim our value to us.  God gives the best of the best to us, and for us. Jesus’ blood pouring from His wounds as He hung on the cross washed us clean, dressing us not in the white of a wedding dress, but an even whiter robe of righteousness cleansed in His blood.  Jesus claims us and proclaims us as His own.  Our Baptism reminds us of that. Paul also proclaims to us: Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

So, we come as the Body of Christ to gather around His Word. We come to witness the adoption of another into Christ’s family in Baptism.  The very Body and Blood of Jesus held before us to strengthen us in faith. You are among the faithful of God, continuing to serve Him.

 

PRAYER: Keep us connected, Lord Jesus, to You and Your Church finding us faithful through Your forgiveness to live the joys and glories of heaven now and forever. Amen.