Revelation 1:4b-8 (NRSV)
Verse 4John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, Verse 5and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, Verse 6and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Verse 7Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen. Verse 8"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.
The book of Revelation, like Daniel, is an apocalyptic book, one that “pulls back the veil” so the reader can see God, who is at work behind the scenes. Whether it is ruthless Greeks, as for Daniel, or ruthless Romans who are demanding emperor worship on pain of death, as for John, we all need reminders that God is Immanuel—God is present. In 1975, as I was coming home for Easter vacation from Luther Seminary, I ran out of gas on a county blacktop, just five miles from home. Thank God, a farm couple came along and brought me home. Dad filled a gas can and brought me to my car. When we got to my car, Dad mentioned, “When it’s dark like this, you should have your flashers on.” (I hadn’t done that.) That’s what Revelation is. When things seem dark, it is like a message flashing with the promise: God is present; don’t give up!
Jesus, you are Lord, whether it is the 1st century, or the 21st century. Help us to be faithful to you alone. Amen.