Week 1: He Will Come Again in Glory
Advent devotional readings from Christianity Today.
Almost immediately, the opening chapter of Revelation lifts our eyes up to gaze at a glory that utterly transcends our earthly circumstances. “I am the Alpha and the Omega … who is, and who was, and who is to come’” (1:8). Our Savior “who loves us and has freed us from our sins” will return; “‘Look, he is coming with the clouds’ and ‘every eye will see him’” (1:5, 7–8). John goes on to describe a wondrous vision of Christ himself—an encounter so awesome that John “fell at his feet as though dead” (v. 17).
But right in the middle of these two glorious passages is a line we might easily miss: John’s brief description of his life and the lives of his letter’s recipients. John writes that he’s a “companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus” (v. 9). John wrote Revelation while in exile; it was circulated among a suffering church facing pressure and persecution that would only worsen in the coming decades. Revelation’s initial recipients were living in two overlapping realities: their assurance in the sovereign reign and glorious return of Christ; and their earthly, everyday experience of waiting and suffering.
Some two thousand years later, we still live amid these overlapping realities. Here, between Christ’s first coming and his glorious return, our lives may also feel like a mix of kingdom and confidence alongside waiting and suffering.
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January 22, 2021