Second Sunday of Easter – Epistle

by Crossings

An All-Time Lord
Second Sunday of Easter
Revelation 1:4-8
Analysis by Michael Hoy

4John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, 6and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 7Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen. 8″I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

DIAGNOSIS: Among the Tribes of the Earth

Step 1: Initial Diagnosis (External Problem) – Living under the Kings of the Earth
The “revelation” is not limited to the churches of Asia. It transcends time. You and I are witnesses to that. For these churches, however, the times were not easy. They were times of persecution. The kings of the earth, in their ruling, could be deadly (consider him who was “pierced,” v. 7).

Step 2: Advanced Diagnosis (Internal Problem) – Wailing
What was the faith-life of the churches in those deadly times? They were not innocent bystanders. They were described among “all the tribes of the earth” as those who wail. Their wailing was not simply because they themselves were being persecuted, but because they also contributed to the persecutions of those in their time-at the very least, to the persecution of him who was “pierced,” whose blood was shed on account of “our sins” (v. 5). As one commentator on this passage has noted, “all have been implicated in the rejection and death of the Christ” (Beasley-Murray). How faithful have we been in the midst of our persecution? Or have we committed apostasy, only lamenting and burying ourselves in wailing, or turning instead to the powers that be (perhaps by turning away from the persecutions of others)?

Step 3: Final Diagnosis (Eternal Problem) – The Final Coming
The announcement is made that this One who was pierced will finally come on the clouds of heaven (v. 7). But, if we are implicated by our own guilt in his death, how will we fare in the final judgment of the living and the dead? Have we placed too much trust in the “kings of the earth” and failed to see (believe in) the One who is “the ruler of the kings of the earth?”

PROGNOSIS: The Faithful Witness, the First-born from the Dead, The Ruler of All

Step 4: Initial Prognosis (Eternal Solution) – Jesus Christ, who loves us and freed us
Terror at the sight of this One’s coming would be necessary, were it not also known to us through the “revelation” who this One is: “the faithful witness, the first-born from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth” (v. 5). This triad describes the life our Lord Jesus Christ lived for us–bearing witness, even to death; rising from the dead for our vindication, and coming again to claim us as his own. Through these events, he “loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood” (v. 5).

Step 5: Advanced Prognosis (Internal Solution) – Looking
Because of this news, we are encouraged to “look” (v. 7)–to look up, to behold the One who is coming. When he comes in power, he comes as our champion. Our faith sees his coming as a fulfillment of promise, and our “Amen” (vv. 6, 7) is our affirmation that the One who comes is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Rev. 22:20).

Step 6: Final Prognosis (External Solution) – Serving as Priests
While we live, we live as priests of the promise (v. 6). The Lamb who was slain has begun his reign-and “his glory and dominion will be forever and ever.” Our role is to celebrate the victory, even in the midst of difficult times. Any sacrifice of ourselves in this time is strictly for the joy of The Sacrifice for us. And that promise will sustain us all the time, because He is the Alpha and the Omega (v. 8), the One who is and was and is to come (v. 4). Such service provides the counterbalancing witness to the rulers of the earth: There is another ruling going on–one that loves and frees us all!


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