Yesterday’s message …
- Opened the Brave series, a series that is itself based on the book of Revelation;
- Explained that the genre of Revelation is more Virtual Reality Tour than it is Crystal Ball Study;
- Contrasted John’s use of “was, is, is to come” and “Alpha and Omega” with the marvelously delicate touch God gives him with his “right hand” in Revelation 1:17;
- Led to this pointed point: God goes to INFINITE lengths to give his INTIMATE touch.
Have you ever had those times when you needed a steady hand? When there was so much turbulence & uncertainty that you couldn’t stand up straight WITHOUT a hand on you? Like this guy? (Vid clip weather guy in hurricane).
Other times, I guess, you need that steady hand in ways that are slightly less literal. Julie and I were maybe 24, married a couple of years, and were visiting her parents for Xmas; at that time they lived in PA. Anyway, I got some kind of stomach something, it actually got kind of serious, and I had to spend a night or two in the local hospital. Merry Xmas! (The lengths some of us will go to avoid holidays with in laws!) Anyway, her g-mom was there visiting as well, and was in declining health & often had a tenuous relationship with reality. So there I am at the hospital and Julie falls asleep on the couch (because taking care of me is EXHAUSTING) and she wakes up to g-mom hovering over her and saying, “He was so young! I am so sorry for your loss! Such a young man!” Well as you might imagine, groggy Julie needed a steady hand to process THAT.
Of course, even with Julie, there have been more real times of needing that hand: dad has a real heart attack, brother in NYC during 9.11, son has an anaphylactic shock. We certainly have not had a large # of crises or even setbacks, but there are those moments when you’re so overwhelmed, so bewildered, so unsure of what’s next, that you need someone providing a steady hand.
You know what I’m saying. It’s when you get that diagnosis, either about your own body or the health of someone you love. It’s when you get the pink slip. It’s when you’re a newcomer to the city and you’ve got to navigate traffic insanity. It’s even at the beginning of yet another year and the pace of change in culture is so rapid (no one TOUCHES music anymore!!) and the wide polarities of our land and people and politics and even increasing opposition to Jesus AND to apple pie. When life is so uncertain and head spinning, it robs you of courage. You can’t be brave; you’re just trying not to drown. You need a steady hand.
Which is precisely where John finds himself as Revelation opens up. This John is probably the same John as John 3:16 John but he is a great man & author nonetheless. Now: most of us come to Revelation with so much misunderstanding, the primary one of which is that it is some kind of bewildering chart of future events involving Russia, North Korea, the European Union, ISIS, and the Kardashians. You decipher its codes and you’ll know precisely what will happen next & when it will happen. Nope. It’s the real experience of a real man who wrote from a real place to encourage a group of real people who were going through a real hell. And before this real guy, John, could write of his real experience to encourage those real Xns, he need a real steadying hand. Here’s why.
Look at 1:9:
9 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.