The Echo of Easter

Jesus is very much alive and impressively powerful. If we think of the tour of the troubles in this world, what hope do we find in the many tombs of emperors and kings? None. But one tomb is empty, and death has been defeated – Jesus holds the keys of death and Hades! We all need to be gripped by the wondrous vision of Revelation 1. 

I recently imagined a global tour that could be called the “tour of the tombs.”  That might not sound too exciting, but it would include great cities in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and North America!  Were we to travel that itinerary, we would see the burial sites of philosophers and Pharaohs, Kings and Emperors, religious leaders and mass murderers.  It would be quite the tour!  And along the way, we would get an inadvertent “tour of the troubles.”  After all, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, etc., are all marked by political protests, persecution, death, wars, and terrorism.  The world of today is not so different from the world of our history books.

In the first century, the events of one Sunday led to one of the greatest books ever written.  Imagine being John, possibly the youngest of Jesus’ disciples.  For three years, being with Jesus had transformed his life.  He was there when Jesus taught, healed, and shook the world.  John was there when Jesus was arrested and crucified.  He was there the day Jesus rose from the dead and met with his disciples.  John was there when Jesus met the group by the Sea of Galilee, when he uttered the Great Commission, and when he ascended into heaven.

The three years were over, but for the next six decades, John served his beloved Jesus.  He saw the gospel spreading in Jerusalem and the persecution that arose.  He saw his brother and the other disciples systematically slaughtered over the following decades.  He lived beyond the destruction of Jerusalem, the dispersion of the Jewish people, and the rise of nasty Emperor Domitian.  John lived for six decades serving Jesus.  And it was for preaching Jesus that John was sent to the penal colony of Patmos in his old age.

Then, one Sunday morning towards the end of the first century, John heard the voice of the risen Jesus (see Revelation 1:9-11).  The voice commissioned him to write everything he saw so that the Revelation of Jesus might be sent to the seven churches John cared about in Asia Minor.

If you look at the introduction to that book, the book of Revelation (1:1-8), you will find that John believed it to be a uniquely special book.  In a dark and troubling world, it offered grace and peace from the eternal God, especially the risen and victorious Son, Jesus Christ.

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