This final chapter in Revelation, and so the final chapter in the Bible, can be summarized by a word which is alluded to in vs. 20: Maranatha! In reality it is a combination of two Aramaic words: maran atah which could be seen as a command stating: Come Lord! The only time that phrase is used in Scripture is seen in I Corinthians 16:22 where Paul uses it to describe the feeling of the early Christians who were somewhat losing their patience in waiting for Jesus to come back again. I wonder if this describes a bit of what we are feeling.
On this day, November 5, we will remember it as a day when we wished Jesus had come back sooner than 11:30 Texas time. For it was at that time that a shooter came into the church and took the life of 26 people. If Jesus had come back before that time, we would not have to talk about it. If Jesus had come back before then we would not have to address the issue of what would happen if someone came into our church. If Jesus had come back then we would not have to grieve for those who are now without a mother or a father, a son or a daughter. But Jesus has not come back so we want to use the command form and say out loud: Come, Jesus, Lord Jesus, come!
The ending of Revelation contains a beautiful image of a peaceful existence with our Savior. Especially in the first 7 verses we find laid before us a tree which is specifically for the healing of the nations. Wouldn’t that tree come in handy today as we see nations menacing each other with words and very little actions. But then the author, John, changes tone and begins to describe the meaning and the purpose behind the writing of Revelation. We are to worship God and only worship God (vs.9). That makes sense in the pantheistic culture in which the Roman Empire, and thus the early Christian church, found itself. Only worship God was a command directed at those who thought that if I bow to the emperor it can’t hurt anyone and it could save the life of me and my family.
We find the repeated promise from Jesus that he is going to come back again in vs.12-13. Again, these are words which are much needed by the early Christian community. He ends Revelation with the same ending that I would want to give to you at the end of a long and difficult road which we have traversed together: “The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.” Now, if you want to include yourself in the number of the saints that’s up to you. I’m including you.