If there is one theme throughout these final verses of Revelation, and indeed of the Bible itself, it’s that Jesus is coming soon.
He says it in verses 7, 12 and 22.
What should our response be to this? We see it in verse 17.
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears, say “Come.” (22:17a)
I find it interesting that even the Holy Spirit cries to the Son, “Come!” Perhaps this in connection with his intercession for us that we see in Romans 8:18-27.
But we, the Bride of Christ, are also to long for his coming. We are to set our hearts on his return. How do we do that?
First, be faithful in all that God calls you to do.
Jesus tells us,
Behold I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. (12)
Like we saw in chapter 20, there are two books. One is the book of our deeds, and the other is the Lamb’s book of life.
But just because your name is written in the latter doesn’t mean the former has been wiped out. I do believe that we will stand before God and we will be judged according to what we have done. It’s a theme we see again and again in the gospels and the epistles.
God will judge us for how faithful we’ve been with what he’s given us. If we’ve been faithful, we will be rewarded. If we haven’t, we will be saved, but only as someone escaping flames (I Corinthians 3:10-15). And so as Jesus warns, be ready. (Matthew 24:36-25:30).
Second, strive for holiness.
John tells us in his first epistle,
We know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. (I John 3:2)
In other words, because we have the hope of Christ’s return, and that we will be like him someday, let us work to that end even while we are waiting.
And so Jesus says,
Let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy. (22:11b)
Third, worship God.
There are so many things that can captivate us and our imaginations. Some of them are even good things. But they are not to be worshiped. Twice, John nearly fell into that trap by starting to worship something that was good: an angel. (19:10; 22:8). And twice the angel said,
Do not do it…Worship God! (Revelation 22:10)
Don’t worship the creation. Worship the Creator.
Finally, be faithful to the words of God.
We have seen many admonitions in this book. We saw them especially in chapters 2-3, but they are throughout the book. And Jesus calls us to be faithful and obey them.
Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophesy in this book. (22:7)
And we are warned sternly to neither add to these words or take away from them. (22:18-19)
This then, is how we are to live until he returns.
But if you do not yet know Jesus, these next words are for you:
Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life. (22:17b)
God will not force you to come to him. If you choose to stay in your sin, he will let you. (22:11a)
But his desire is that you would come to him and be saved.
Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. (22:14)
How do you wash your robes? By your own efforts to “clean up your act?”
No, you wash them in the blood of Christ shed on the cross. And when you put your trust in him, he purifies you from all sin. (I John 1:7)
Won’t you do so today? It starts with a prayer.
Lord Jesus, all my life, I have gone my own way, hurting you, hurting others, and hurting myself. Forgive me. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. Make me clean of all my sins and failures. You are King of kings, and Lord of lords, and I give myself to you today. In your name I pray, amen.
I now close with the words of Jesus and John.
I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the Bright and Morning Star…Yes I am coming soon. (22:16, 20)
And John responds,
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. (20)
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with God’s people.” (21)
Amen and amen.