Christ Lutheran Church
April 24, 2022
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras
Jesus Christ Revealed
God herein reveals Jesus Christ to John by his Angel so that he [John] might show his [Christ's] worshipers the things which must quickly come to pass. He signified [these things] by sending them to his servant John; who bore witness to the Word of God, and to the testimony about Jesus Christ that he beheld. Happy is the Reader of the words of this prophecy; and [happy] its Hearers who keep the things that are inscripturated herein. For the time is short!
John -- to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and Peace from him who is and who was and who is to come; and from the seven Spirits who are before his throne even Jesus Christ the Faithful Witness, the Firstborn from the Dead and the Ruler over the kings of the earth.
To him who loved us and washed us from our sins by his blood; and ordained us a kingdom of priests to his God and Father -- to him be glory and dominion unto the ages of ages. Amen!
He comes on the clouds and every eye will see him, and they which pierced [him]; and all the tribes of earth will wail [in regret] over him.
"I am the Alpha and the Omega; the Beginning and End" says the Lord who was and who is and who is to come:
The Almighty! (Revelation 1:1-8)
The joy continues, Beloved! Easter is not over, but just getting started. It is celebrated for 7 weeks in the church. 49 glorious days. But in reality Easter never ends because in the church every Sunday is Easter: the Lord’s people, assembled on the Lord’s Day to celebrate the Lord’s Supper which is the Sacrament of the Resurrection.
Yes! Holy Communion is the Sacrament of the Resurrection for it is not the dead Jesus that we commune with herein, but the resurrected and exalted Christ. The one who names himself: “The Firstborn from the dead” in today’s epistle. (Rev. 1:5) And, “the Living One who was dead but Behold! I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and Hades.” (1:18).
This is the Christ whom St. John makes known to us in the Book of Revelation: the Victorious, Risen, Ascended, Exalted and Reigning Lord who, by virtue of his Passion and Resurrection is become: “the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” and the “ruler over the Kings of the earth.” He is All in All. There is no Other, there is none Better.
This is the same Jesus that St. Peter makes known in today’s reading from the Acts of the Apostles when he says, “The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.” We are that Israel, Beloved! We are “the Israel of God” (Gal. 6:6) whose repentance is acknowledged, and whose sins are forgiven.
This is the same Jesus that we find in today’s gospel. Fully recovered from death yet who retains his five glorious wounds as an eternal icon of the price he paid to recover us from Satan’s iron grasp. Not only retains them but invites us to touch them even as Faithful Thomas did in today’s Gospel. To plunge ourselves into them in Holy Baptism, and commune with them in the Blessed Sacrament so that we, too, might humbly and gratefully declare: My Lord and my God!
And so contrary to a very popular, but very wrong, opinion – the Book of Revelation is not a roadmap of the End Times! Nor does it support anything that is taught on religious radio. Nor does it have a word to say about modern day Israel, Russia, Ukraine, crypto-currency or the world’s monetary system! And so don’t look for such things in this Dear Book, Dear Christian!
Instead, as often as you open the Book of Revelation (as we will do for the next 5 weeks) look for the Exalted Lord “who was, who is, and who is to come.” Who laid down his life for the sheep and took it up again to save us, once and for all, from the power of “Death and Hades.”
Look in this Book to meet the Lord who walks among the Golden Lampstands (Rev. 2:1). In Revelation “Golden Lampstand” is code for the church – the place where Jesus walks among us; not only walks, but also abides. Not by warm fuzzies, or coffee-sipping, round-table discussions: but by Divine Liturgy he holds the church in his right hand!
That is what makes us golden!
Not any sparkle or gleam that is native to us, but Christ whose face shines as bright as the noonday sun; and whose blood-stained garments were made as white as wool, as white as snow, by the resurrection.
A resurrection from the dead that he shares with us when we are drowned in Blessed Baptism, and will share with us factually when we breathe our last breathe on earth and take our first unspeakably fragrant breath in the New Creation. That day you will be in Paradise with Jesus and there you will remain forever with the Lord.
Not only does he hold the Golden Lampstands in his right hand, but he holds the “seven stars” who are the “angels” of the church, which is code for the “pastors” of the church, or in proper ecclesiastical language the “bishops” of the church. This is how Jesus works.
We learn this in today’s gospel. In it the Lord invests the power to forgive and retain sins. It is a power exercised in Divine Service when the church’s Angel leads the Golden Lampstand in the prayer of confession, and then pronounces the absolution, thereby dissolving the sins of the Faithful so that their deadly and degrading wrongs are no more!
The strife is o’er, the battle done. Alleluia.
And now you, like Jesus, are White as Snow, White as Wool by the Word he speaks to you here. That is what we find in this Dear Book, Dear Christians. The exalted Christ who did all that was necessary to cleanse us from our sins, reconcile us to God and share his divine nature with us.
And so be happy O hearers of this book! One that you will hear read aloud 5 more times before this Easter Season is over.
For in it, in the Book of Revelation, you will find the Victorious Christ who gives you Victory everyday, over every enemy, that threatens you. And so: Fear not!
Christ is exalted!
He is exalted, indeed!