Thanks for joining us as we begin the STUDY part of our week. Today, we’ll be exploring one simple but powerful tool you can use when you read any book of the Bible, but especially when you open Revelation.
Have you ever put your foot in your mouth? I don’t mean literally. I mean, have you ever said something out of an assumption rather than based on the reality of a situation? Some of us have got ourselves in trouble by suggesting someone was pregnant, by inferring false intentions when failing to text back, or spreading rumors we thought were true. I’m sure you and I both could share some ridiculous stories resulting from moments like these. This just goes to show that context is everything. Context helps us locate truth.
Thankfully, before John ever gets into the nitty gritty of his apocalyptic visions in Revelation, he begins his letter by giving us the context of his writing. These first verses are key to getting the right context before jumping to any conclusions throughout the entire book.
“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.
John 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, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.” Revelation 1:1-5a
Before you go any further, take a moment to use TOOL #1 CONTEXT. What does John want you, the reader, to know about the context in which he’s writing? In your own words describe the context for the book of Revelation. Feel free to voice it aloud, jot it down on paper, or text it into the notes app on your phone.
Pastor Ryan gave some more detail about the context of this book in his message on Sunday. The Apostle John is on an island, far away from his church family, and far away from the empires that are making life difficult for Jesus-followers. Because of John’s intentional context, Ryan concludes, “This letter, before it’s about any events that are going to happen in the future, it’s about the person who stands above the future.”
So, what does the context of this book mean for us today? The context is Jesus is on his throne, and this is our context too. No matter what circumstances we face. Today, we can praise Jesus for being: “the one who is and who was and who is to come”, the one who sits on “his throne”, the “faithful witness”, the “firstborn of the dead”, and the “ruler of kings on earth”. Amen.
If you missed the weekend message, I’d encourage you to watch it online before continuing the Revelation study with us.