Sustained by God’s Word of Joy

Revelation 21:1-27: We conclude the year by reading the final two chapters in the last book in the Bible, known as The Revelation to John, written at a time when Christians were being persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord. The central theme of the book is that, through Christ the Lord, God will finally and totally defeat all of his enemies, including Satan (Revelation 20:7-10), and will reward his faithful people with the blessings of a new heaven and a new earth when this victory is complete. In today’s reading, John’s vision now describes God bringing in a new heaven and earth as well as a new city, which represents a renewal of the whole creation. God will dwell among the people; and pain, sorrow, and death will be no more.

Those who win the victory will receive this from me: I will be their God, and they will be my children.

1From Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ.

I was chosen and sent to help the faith of God's chosen people and to lead them to the truth taught by our religion, 2which is based on the hope for eternal life. God, who does not lie, promised us this life before the beginning of time, 3and at the right time he revealed it in his message. This was entrusted to me, and I proclaim it by order of God our Savior.

4 I write to Titus, my true son in the faith that we have in common.

May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior give you grace and peace.

Titus' Work in Crete

5I left you in Crete, so that you could put in order the things that still needed doing and appoint church elders in every town. Remember my instructions: 6 an elder must be without fault; he must have only one wife, and his children must be believers and not have the reputation of being wild or disobedient. 7For since a church leader is in charge of God's work, he should be without fault. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered, or a drunkard or violent or greedy for money. 8He must be hospitable and love what is good. He must be self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. 9He must hold firmly to the message which can be trusted and which agrees with the doctrine. In this way he will be able to encourage others with the true teaching and also to show the error of those who are opposed to it.

10For there are many, especially the converts from Judaism, who rebel and deceive others with their nonsense. 11It is necessary to stop their talk, because they are upsetting whole families by teaching what they should not, and all for the shameful purpose of making money. 12-13It was a Cretan himself, one of their own prophets, who spoke the truth when he said, “Cretans are always liars, wicked beasts, and lazy gluttons.” For this reason you must rebuke them sharply, so that they may have a healthy faith 14and no longer hold on to Jewish legends and to human commandments which come from people who have rejected the truth. 15Everything is pure to those who are themselves pure; but nothing is pure to those who are defiled and unbelieving, for their minds and consciences have been defiled. 16They claim that they know God, but their actions deny it. They are hateful and disobedient, not fit to do anything good.

Who is the “Bride, the wife of the Lamb” (verse 9)? How is the new Jerusalem described (verses 11-21)? What is now the “temple” (verse 22) and why is there “no need of the sun or the moon”(verse 23)? How do you envision what is described in this chapter?

Loving God, you make all things new. Renew your creation and make your home among us. Teach us to care for those in need and to be faithful stewards of the world you created. Refresh me with your gracious Spirit and empower me to walk in your light and serve you faithfully. Amen.

Those recovering from earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, and floods

Revelation 22:1-21: Jesus will come again.


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