Victory in Jesus
Revelation 7: Who are these dressed in white robes, and where did they come from?
As the worship scene in heaven unfolds John sees more and more worshipers. First, there are 144,000 people from the family trees of Israel. Then, he sees thousands and thousands from “all nations and tribes.” The number is too vast to count and they all begin singing praise to God and to the Lamb. John is transfixed by the scene but his focus is interrupted when one of the Elders asks him a question. He asks John who they are, this white robed, too-vast-to-be-counted throng of worshipers. John doesn’t know, but the Elder answers his own question. These are those who have come through the great tribulation. This huge multitude isn’t made up of everyone in heaven, just of those who faithfully serve Christ right at the end, as earth’s history is being wrapped up. A couple of things come to mind at this point. First, heaven won’t be a lonely place. In spite of “many called, few chosen” the “few” comprise a huge number. Second, as bad as the time of tribulation might be, by God’s power his people can overcome, not just surviving, barely limping in, but thriving in numbers too great to count, coming through clean and rejoicing. This is a testimony, not to human perseverance, but to God’s power at work in the lives of his people.
Take Away: By the grace of the Lord, by his power in our lives…by the Lord, we can hold fast in our faith and receive a glorious entrance into the place he’s prepared for us.
Thessalonians 3: But now that Timothy is back, bringing this terrific report on your faith and love, we feel a lot better.
When Paul first came to Thessalonica he told them about Jesus. He told them what Jesus taught and did. He told them about the resurrection and the promise of the Second Coming. He also warned them that living for Jesus isn’t always a walk in the park. Actually, Paul’s beaten and bruised body, a result of things getting rather rough in nearby Philippi, was proof of that. They entered the Christian life with their eyes wide open. Now, years down the road, Paul has received word that his friends in Thessalonica are going through some hardship of their own. Paul lays awake at night praying for them; that they’ll make it through. Ultimately, he sends his son in the faith, Timothy, to them with a message of encouragement. The great Apostle wants to give them all the tools necessary to live for Jesus and remain ready for him to come again. Well, Timothy has completed the trip and his report on Thessalonica is better than Paul ever imagined. Timothy hasn’t found a cowed, shrinking group of believers just hanging on trying to stumble over the finish line at Christ’s return. These believers may not be enjoying the hardship that has come, but they’ve never been more in love with Jesus. Their faith has not only survived, it has thrived. Paul is relieved and thrilled. Isn’t it good to remember that the people of God don’t have to live small, pitiful, just-making-it-through lives? We aren’t always going to have an easy journey, but in Christ, we can enjoy his strength; and in that strength, we can be constant overcomers.
Take Away: The way may not always be easy; but it’s a blessed way.