Mar 29 2012 - E100b – Revelation 22, The river of life
And so we come to the end of the Book of Revelation, and to the end of the New Testament as it is conventionally arranged – and therefore also to the end of the Bible. And what an end! The Bible begins with a garden and the tree of life. From these blessings humankind was banished because of rebellion against God; banished to live in a world marked by God's absence; banished to live out a limited span under the increasing shadow of death. The Bible ends with a vision of a garden city, filled and ever refreshed with life that flows from the presence of God. There is no longer one tree of life, there are many such trees, providing nourishment and healing. There is no longer any curse. There is a healing of the nations (there are sermons in this wonderful phrase). The inhabitants of the garden city will see God's face and live in the brightness of his presence (Revelation 22:1-5).
If this wonderful picture fills us with joy and with longing, what shall the reality be like?
One of the hymns we sang when I was a child began like this:
God has given us
a book full of stories,
which was made for
his people of old,
it begins with the tale of a garden,
and ends with the city of gold.
But the Bible is more than a book full of stories; it tells the one great story which is both God's story and our story. It is the story of human folly and of divine faithfulness. It is a love story. It is a story that centres in Jesus who, along with the Father is "the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End" (22:13).
We need to be careful how we tell this story; not adding anything extraneous to it nor leaving out any part of it (22:18-19). We need to tell the world the story. We need to live the story in the power of him who is our beginning and shall be our end.
Father God, help me by your Spirit to show and tell your story more faithfully and fully day by day. May this story bring healing to the nations, life to the world and eternal glory and praise to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.