Easter 6 • Revelation 21:9–14, 21–27 • May 5, 2013

By Wally Becker

After celebrating the resurrection of our Lord these past five weeks, the reading from Revelation helps us focus on our own resurrection at the last day. The picture is of the bride, the wife of the Lamb. For a good explanation of the imagery and symbols see the volume on Revelation by Louis A. Brighton in the Concordia Commentary Series.[1]

Have you ever watched a movie or TV series, knowing that the outcome would be okay? It gives you a sense of security and hope as you are watching through the bad and almost impossible story line.

Or have you ever read the last chapter of a book, before you start reading from the beginning? I have never done that, but I have heard of people who do. They know the ending before they begin, and they have the ending in mind as they are reading through the plot and development of the story.

In a very real way, God gives us a glimpse of the end, the final outcome—for us, for the church, for God’s enemies, for his entire creation—to help us, comfort us, and strengthen us as we are still going through and living out the details of the story. We get to read the back of the book, the final chapter, and we win! God wins the battle, and we, the church, share in that victory.

And the picture we get a glimpse of is a wedding, but the description is not exactly like the weddings at the end of Disney princess movies. The church triumphant is described as the bride, the wife of the Lamb. In Ephesians 5:25–27 Paul describes how Jesus loves the church, his bride, “that he might present to himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing: but that she should be holy and blameless.” The picture it brings to mind is that of a royal wedding.

But Revelation 21 describes a royal city—Jerusalem—coming down out of heaven from God: beautiful, brilliant, and magnificent. There are twelve gates that are always open, which represent the Old Testament people of God. The twelve precious stones that are the foundation represent the New Testament people of God. An enormous city—a perfect cube. The city has no temple, for God and the Lamb are its temple, the focus and center of all worship. It has no sun or moon for the Lamb is its lamp and the glory and splendor of God shine brightly. And it is always day, there shall be no night.

The metaphors stretch our imagination. The glory and wonder of eternity with Jesus is beyond what words can describe and beyond what our minds could comprehend. But we get a glimpse.

We are the church militant now. We are tempted, and sometimes we fall. We get discouraged, but we should never give up. Our names are written in the Lamb’s book of life, written with the blood he sacrificed on the cross when he died for us. We have the assurance that we are his, having been marked with the cross. He put his name on us in baptism and we belong to him. By grace, through faith in Jesus, we cling to his promises. This glimpse of the end gives us hope and encouragement when times are tough, when we get discouraged, and when things look hopeless.

The Disney princess weddings usually end with “and they lived happily ever after.” I sometimes have wondered how happy everyone would be as they faced the realities of life. There are conflicts to resolve, children to raise, disappointments to face, and the effects that sin has on our lives as we live in a fallen world. But this glimpse of the bride of Christ does assure us that we will live happily ever after, for we will have eternity to celebrate this royal wedding.

May this glimpse of our future give you hope and encouragement now, in Jesus, the one who is at work within us, the author and perfecter of our faith.

Endnote
[1] Louis A. Brighton, Revelation (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999).

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