John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia:
Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spiritsbefore his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who LOVES US and has FREED US from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a KINGDOM and PRIESTS to SERVE his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. Revelation 1:4-6
Today lets pause to remember the message we have been entrusted with as believers. It’s a tale of restoration. It involves hope for the hopeless and freedom from the endless cycles of futility. It is the fulfillment of all of our longings. For those who feel worthless, unlovable and ugly, it says quite the opposite. It tells them they are valued and cared for beyond their wildest imagination.
In the midst of humanity’s mess, the beauty of the cross shines brighter. God didn’t wait till we had our act together before extending a hand. Instead, He demonstrated His great love for us by sending His Son.
Jesus bridged the gap. He righted every wrong. He defeated death. He assures us that in the end…love wins. This is the gift we’ve been given. And by accepting this free gift we are guaranteed a place in His kingdom.
But, it doesn’t stop there. We are given a whole new identity. No longer are we defined by our past, our shortcomings or how others might label us. If you’ve accepted Christ’s sacrifice, today when you woke up and looked in the mirror a priest was staring back at you.
Chances are good that’s not what you saw. From your critical viewpoint, all your eyes focused on was what a hot mess you were - a person who fails, who stumbles and who wrestles with doubt.
God, on the other hand, sees something completely different. Ephesians 2:10 says we are “God’s workmanship” while 1 Peter 2:9 describes us as a “royal priesthood.” In the Old Testament, priests wore a special turban with a gold medallion fastened to it. A special saying was engraved on the plate: “HOLY TO THE LORD” (Exodus 39:30).
Holy simply means to be set apart or separate. You are set apart for God – not because of what you’ve done, but solely due to what God did on your behalf. As a result, your life is no longer your own. You have been given the task of displaying God’s love to others. Serving others is what should define our days (v. 6).
This is why we as a church community are tuning our ears to what the Holy Spirit might be saying to us individually and corporately. We want to stay in step with the Spirit’s leading and steward the message of hope well. Because we are free, we point others towards the way of freedom.
- In this passage, the apostle John refers to us as priests. Do you find it challenging to see yourself in this way? Why or why not?
God, I don’t want to lose sight of the incredible freedom I’ve been given. This is the message I want to proclaim today. Since I’ve been extended grace, may grace and love fuel my steps and interactions with others. May I live a life defined by holiness. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.