We did it! We made it through the whole New Testament together! That’s a big deal!! For some this is the first time you’ve ever read the New Testament all the way through, that’s huge! And for others its your 100th time, but I know for me, even passages that I’ve read before have been illuminated in new ways through this Dwell journey together, and I’m so thankful for it. Thank you to all of you for being a part of this. I truly hope that this has built in us healthy habits of reading His word daily and regularly talking about it in community. And as we go from here, continuing to read His Word over and over again throughout our lives, I hope He would continue to illuminate it afresh for us and speak to our hearts.
But before we fully wrap up, let’s dig into this beautiful final chapter of the Bible. In this chapter, the final picture of John’s vision is given and then he wraps up with a few final warnings to not add or take away anything from Scripture and an invitation to all of us found in verse 17.
To start, I’m going to simply read part of that vision in verses 1-5 and as I do, I hope this stirs in us exactly what it stirred up for John: worship of God and a longing for Jesus to come and come soon.
Verses 1-5: “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding it’s fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and the Lamb will be in the city, and His servants will serve Him. They will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign forever and ever.”
At the very beginning of Scripture, way back in Genesis, we see a garden and in the middle of the garden is the tree of life, and walking around in that garden is God walking with His people, His creation, in perfect relationship. But then in that same garden, sin entered the world, breaking the perfect relationship that people had with God, that people had with each other, that people had with creation, and that people had with themselves— a fully broken humanity. God immediately set in motion the wheels of His rescue mission and His plan to send Jesus to reconcile people to Himself.
And in these final verses of Revelations, we see this picture of what is to come, our future hope. It’s a picture of a fully restored Eden. This time no longer in a garden, but in a city. Where there was once brokenness there is now restoration. Where there was darkness, there is now perfect light from God Himself. Where people were once separated from God, we now see His face and are marked by His name. Where we were once banished from the garden, we are now with Him and serving Him. Where there was once brokenness, animosity, and strife amongst people, and where we’ve often failed to be a blessing to others, we see the tree of life once again, and it’s leaves are for the healing of the nations. Where there was once a curse that effected everything from every aspect of our right-relatedness to God, to each other, to ourselves, and to creation, there is no longer any curse. The work that Jesus started on the cross, is now fully complete in this image in Revelations 22. It’s a picture of full, complete restoration—Shalom in its fullest sense of complete peace.
This is what we long for, what we hope for, when we are a part of His family and when we long for His second coming.
I mentioned earlier there’s an invitation to us found in verse 17. The invitation for all reads:
“The Spirit and the bride [which is us, the church, the bride of Christ] say ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.”
As we close out our Dwell series, as we look ahead to the New Year, and as we close out this final chapter of the Bible together, I simply want to leave you with a blessing: May you take Him up on His invitation to you. Where you are thirsty, may you come and take this free gift of the water of life. May you continue to be rooted in Scripture, carrying on these habits that have been built in you, so that you may stand firm no matter what is to come. May your reading of Scripture not just add to your knowledge but would it also spur on your worship. And out of that, may every aspect of your life—your words, actions, thoughts, and heart—be about His restoration in your own life and in the world around you. May you long for His coming and would your whole self declare “Come soon, Lord Jesus!” And as you wait and watch for His coming, may you worship Him and be filled with joy in His Spirit. May you have a hope and a confidence that what He says is true— that He, the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, will be coming soon. Friends, may you be well and may you be blessed as we wrap up this year together.