December 11, 2019·Jon Berglund
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
— Revelation 2:7a, 2:11a, 2:17a, 2:29a, 3:6, 3:13, 3:22
Revelation is a beautiful book, but for most of us, it’s also difﬁcult to understand. Along with John, the Book of Revelation draws us up into heaven and gives us a peek into the mysteries of God.
Heaven is not what we thought — that much seems clear. Forget the baby angels sitting on clouds, strumming their harps. All attention is on the gruesome image of a slaughtered Lamb, standing before the ineffable throne of God.
This is crazy to me: the sweet, adorable little baby we worship during Advent is also the “one like a son of man” that we meet in Revelation, His eyes burning with ﬁre and the words of His mouth cutting like a sword.
Then, as we read in Revelation 2 today, we ﬁnd that His words are directed not at the sinful nations, but at us, His followers — “the churches.”
At times, the Word of God comes to us with comfort, shattering the projections of our self-hating, criticizing and shaming internal voice. God loves us, we hear — God loves us so much that He would send His only Son to die for us. He tells us we are His friends. He calls us His children. He says, “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10).
But, at other times, the Word of God comes like a furnace and a sword. He will have words with us. Precisely because God loves us, He disciplines us (Hebrews 12:5-6). He does not speak what we want to hear, but what we need to hear.
We, like the seven churches in Revelation, need to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches. If we are willing to encounter Jesus, not some false image of Him, we will hear words of both encouragement and challenge.
This is how we know that He loves us — He comes to us, even when we don’t want to hear what He has to say. Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
Pastor Jon Berglund