The Spirit and the bride say, â€œCome.â€ Let the hearer say, â€œCome.â€ Let the one who thirsts come forward, and the one who wants it receive the gift of life-giving water.
I am so thankful you have chosen to worship with us this Sunday as we declare: Christ is risen! He is truly risen! Alleluia!
Over the last two Sundays we discussed the intensity of love Jesus requires from us and the gifts of love and peace Jesus gives us. Jesusâ€™ love and peace gives us the privilege of the Holy Spirit with us and teaching us; eternal life; and peace that removes all fear. Now we get to the urgent work of love, peace, and invitation.
Throughout the Easter Season we have read from the Book of Acts and Revelation.
Both Acts and Revelation are a bit removed from the first-generation Church. Acts was likely written around 80 to 90AD. Revelation was written even later, around 99AD. Both are directed to Christians as reminders of what it means to be the Body of Christ, and the urgency of the work we must engage in.
Acts gives Christians the blueprint for who we are, how we are to live, love, sacrifice and forgive â€“ as we are reminded today by Stephenâ€™s witness, sacrifice and plea for forgiveness of his persecutors â€“ and how we are to evangelize.
Revelation shows forth two things â€“ letters from the Risen Jesus to His Churches reminding them of who they are to be â€“ i.e., the Acts Church, and a reminder of our urgency of action. We hear about that today.
Jesus says: â€œBehold, I am coming quickly.â€ We can never miss the urgency in all Jesus says. His message is to always be ready. Ready does not mean just sitting and waiting. It means hard at work loving, sacrificing, forgiving, and evangelizing. If we are ready, we will have access to the reward Jesus will give according to our work.
To further express urgency, Jesus reminds us that He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. Those words used earlier in Revelation applied to God and here to Jesus alone, crowning proof of Christâ€™s deity. If we really know and understand Who Jesus is, we will not have any trouble being urgent in our work and ready for His return.
Jesus reminds us that â€œThe Spirit and the bride say, â€œCome!â€ The Spirit is in us, the Church. We are the bride of Christ. The Spirit prompts us to call for Jesusâ€™ speedy return and to work at evangelizing those who do not know Him so they too come to Jesus in faith.
People cannot come to Jesus unless they hear. They will only hear by our work at love, sacrifice, forgiveness, and evangelism. So let us be reminded of what urgent work we must do as we await Him. The gift of life-giving water is available. It is an open invitation we are called to urgently offer.