Friday, April 18

To listen to the audio version, click here.

Revelation 22:17-21

The Spirit and the bride say, Come!And let him who hears say, Come!Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

He who testifies to these things says, Yes, I am coming soon.

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with Gods people. Amen.

When our boys were very young my wife and I shared bedtime duties. Typically, one of us would do bath time, get their pajamas on, teeth brushed and get them all tucked into bed. Then the other would come up and do bedtime story and prayer time.

One particular night Lorene went up to take care of the first part of the bedtime ritual. When she was finished she called down to me to let me know the boys were ready for me.

However, I was in the middle of doing something important, like watching a Bulls playoff game, so I told her to tell them I would be up in a minute.

Well, evidently the game got interesting because I completely forgot to go upstairs and do my part. Some 40 minutes later my wife came into the family room and asked, “Did you say goodnight to the boys?”

Dooohhhhhppp!” I said, “I completely forgot.”

So I ran upstairs knowing they would already be asleep but figuring that when they asked in the morning if I had come up I could tell them that, yes, in fact, I did come up but that they were already asleep.

And I was right; the first three I checked on were dead asleep. But when I stepped up to look in on our 5 year old, who was in the top bunk bed, I was shocked to find him still awake. He was clutching his favorite blanket and he looked at me and said, “I knew youd come Daddy.”

My five year old son had stayed awake waiting for me to come because he knew I had promised. And to think I almost missed such a beautiful expression of trust and faith!

The whole Bible ends with these words from the Apostle John:

He who testifies to these things says, Yes, I am coming soon.

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

The grace of the Lord Jesus be with Gods people. Amen.

We have already seen that the central revelation of the book of Revelation is Jesus Christ. Here John tells us the final thing we need to know about Jesus: he is coming soon.

The Bible tells us something is broken in the world and something is broken in us. That something is sin. Jesus came to defeat the power of sin and death, which he did on the cross and through his resurrection. Thats what we celebrate at Easter.

But even though we have been saved from our sins and have the hope of eternal life, we look around at the world and things dont seem to be getting better. Rather, we can all sense the world hurtling toward the chaos and suffering described in the strange images of the book of Revelation.

While many have tried, no one can predict the future with absolute certainty. We simply dont know what tomorrow holds.

But with the final strokes of his pen, John tells us what we can know with certainty. We can know that Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who rules today in heaven and who will rule one day over the new heaven and new earth. And John tells us that Jesus is coming soon.

So now we are waiting for Jesus just as my young son was waiting for me. And we are waiting because he promised. May we trust his promise; may we find hope in his promise; and may we stay awake!

Pastor Brian Coffey

Thursday, April 17

To listen to the audio version, click here.

Revelation 1:1-3; 9-11
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw - that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.

I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. On the Lords Day I was in the Spirit and I heard behind me aloud voice like a trumpet, which said, Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches; to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.

One of the most common misconceptions of the last book of the Bible, the book called “Revelation,” is that it reveals to us how the world will end.

Now, in fairness, the book does include fantastic apocalyptic images of beasts and dragons; wars and plagues; fire and destruction. Revelation does clearly indicate that the world as we know it is temporary when set against the eternal world for which we were created. But the author begins by saying quite clearly the intent of the book:

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place.

This opening sentence can be understood in two ways.

First, we can read it as saying that Jesus is going to reveal to us what is going to happen as God brings about the end of this world and the inauguration of his eternal kingdom. And that is true, although not in the sense many assume.

The second way to understand what John is saying is to see the whole book of Revelation as being, first and foremost, about revealing Jesus; who he is; and the role he will play in the drama that will be the consummation and judgment of all things.

I think its a mistake to focus on what Revelation may say or not say about how history will end. Its much more important to focus on what Revelation says about Jesus Christ.

Revelation 1:17-18
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said, Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead and behold I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

John is telling us Jesus Christ is the eternal One.

Revelation 4:11-12
Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang:

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!

John is affirming that Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

Revelation 19:11-16
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron scepter.He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

Here John sees Jesus as the conquering king of heaven who will come to judge all things.

Years ago I heard a speaker point out that in the ancient world a king would often ride into a conquered city on a white horse as a symbol of his power and strength. The Bible tells us that when Jesus entered Jerusalem before his arrest and crucifixion he rode on a donkey, which was the symbol of humility. The book of Revelation tells us that the next time we see Jesus he will come not on a donkey, but a white horse; he will be coming not in humility but in his triumphant glory.

Indeed, the apocalyptic images of Revelation seem to point to the world falling into terrible turmoil before the end comes. But we need not fear all of that because the one revealed to us in Revelation the One who is the first and the last; the One who is sovereign king of heaven and earth; the One who will judge the living and the dead; and the One who was slain so that we can know the hope of his salvation in the New Heaven and New Earth.

The One revealed in the book of Revelation is Jesus Christ.

Pastor Brian Coffey

Wednesday, April 16

To listen to the audio version, click here.

John 19:25-27
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mothers sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, Dear woman, here is your son,and to the disciple, Here is your mother.From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

I think this is one of the most beautiful, heart-breaking and human stories in the entire gospel story. As a pastor I have   had the privilege of walking with dozens of families through “end of life issues.” Most often these issues revolve around adult siblings making decisions about caring for aging parents. Occasionally parents need to make extremely difficult decisions having to do with medical treatment for terminally ill children. Here we see a wrenching combination of both.
Mary is watching the life drain from her first-born son as he dies a horrifying and humiliating death. Jesus, as eldest son, bears responsibility for the care of his mother. (Most scholars believe that Joseph had passed away some years earlier which left Jesus in the position of responsibility.)
We know from other places in scripture that while Jesus had younger brothers (Matthew 13:54-57) they did not believe in him or follow him at this time (John 7:5). That might explain why Mary was with John at the foot of the cross instead of with one of her other sons.
We also know that John refers to himself several times as “the disciple Jesus loved.” While this seems almost arrogant to us - didnt Jesus love all his disciples? - it may have been just the opposite. Many scholars believe John was actually displaying humility in refraining from using his own name as he wrote his gospel account. By referring to himself as “the disciple Jesus loved” John is simply telling us that he came to find his identity and calling in the love of Christ.
In 1 John 4 we read:
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:7-10)
So when Jesus looked down and saw his mother with John he loved them both. He loved his mother by entrusting her to the care of a man he considered faithful, and he loved John by entrusting him with his mothers care.
While we cant know exactly why Jesus chose to ask John to care for his mother, I think we see in this story a picture of the love Jesus intends for his followers to have for each other.
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. (1 John 4:11-12)

Pastor Brian Coffey

Tuesday, April 15

To listen to the audio version, click here.

John 20:30-31 (ESV)
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
My Mom and Dad are 84 and 80 years old respectively and are, thankfully, in very good health. They have spent nearly 60 years of their lives both married to each other and in ministry through the local church. And they have lots of stories to tell!
Almost every time they visit our home we end up sitting around the table after a meal and listening to them share stories from their lives. Sometimes they will tell stories of growing up in small rural communities in an America much different from the suburban world we live in today. Sometimes they will tell stories from the different churches they have served. Often these will be stories that we have heard over and over but still love to hear again. But every now and then they will tell a story that I have never heard before.
I love it when this happens because I learn a little more about my parents lives and because it reminds me of the untold riches that lie buried in their memories just waiting to be uncovered!
Thats why I find this paragraph in Johns gospel so intriguing!
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
John says, in effect, that Jesus did and said lots of other things that he did not include in his book; and that what he chose to include was for the express purpose of leading his readers to faith in Jesus.
He reiterates this point right at the end of his gospel when he writes:
Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.

I have been wondering recently what it would be like to spend an evening listening to John tell stories about Jesus. Im sure he would tell the great and well known stories, the ones we have all heard or read before; stories like the feeding of the 5,000 or the healing of a man born blind. But I think Id be just as interested in the other stories; the stories that arent in the book!
What was it like to sit around the fire with him at the end of a busy day? What did he talk about as they walked along the road to the next destination? Did he ever make jokes? What did his laughter sound like? Did he enjoy playing games? How strong was his handshake?
I think thats why we need to read and re-read the gospels! The gospels are the story of Jesus written by men who knew him, followed him, and lived with him. The gospels are the part of the story of Jesus that we must know in order to come to faith in him. But they do not contain everything Jesus said or did!
I like to imagine that someday we will have all eternity to listen to John tell the rest of the story; better yet, to hear Jesus tell it himself!

Pastor Brian Coffey