Monday, July 03, 2006

Revelation 22:17

"The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life." --Revelation 22:17

It's one of the most inviting and welcoming words in the English language.


Think for a moment how you use this word. "Come on over." "Come sit down at the table." "We're so glad you came." And in my house to my kids: "You come right now."

How often do ask Jesus, "Come"?

"Lord Jesus, come be with me today. Lead me and guide me." "Jesus, help, I need you right now. Come." "Please come and be in this conversation."

Calling on Jesus to be with you by means of the Holy Spirit is a frequent habit of an abiding Christian.

Yet there are times when a phone call to Jesus just won't do. When times get desperate, you need His very presence. That is the prayer of Revelation 22:17. It's not a prayer for the spiritual presence of Jesus. It's a prayer for the very presence of Jesus, similar to what we say in the Lord's Prayer: "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."

This prayer is two-fold. First, the Spirit and the Bride (that is, the church) in unison cry out to Jesus, "Come." Second, all believers who hear this cry are urged to echo it in their own heart, "Jesus, come."

But then, as the classical commentator Robert Swete observes, the verse takes a dramatic turn in attention. This prayer for believers suddenly becomes a plea to unbelievers: "Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life."

This turn takes place because, as R.A. Torrey says, when Jesus returns to earth, it will be the happiest day for Christians, but it will be the saddest day for non-Christians.

Now, we live now in an age of grace. Christ has been crucified and raised. Your sins are forgiven. Will you believe this Good News?

But when Christ returns, he will come in judgment. Sin and sinners will be brought to justice before a holy and righteous God. That day is coming, but it is not yet here. Grace and forgiveness are available now. If you have not yet put your trust in Jesus--believing that only His righteousness, not your own, can make you acceptable before God--make this the day.

If you are trusting in Jesus, pray for the day of the Lord's return. But if you do, be sure you're offering the water of life to others.

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