We are living in days the like of which this nation has not experienced since the last great war. After a 6 hour marathon of organisation last night, I was lying awake in the early hours suddenly feeling afraid and teary. I like my comfort and security - and I hate change! But then I began to preach to my own mind, heart, and soul and pray. I would like to help us pray together more in these days by reviving the old Praying Together blog/newsletter.
At another time in history, when God's people faced the threat of persecution and fear of death, the apostle John was exiled on the island of Patmos. One Sunday morning, he received a vision that transported him out of this here/now world into the throne room of God in eternity. It may have been as many as 60 years since he last saw Jesus on this earth, and now he saw Jesus transfigured in glory. The words that Jesus spoke are wonderful for us to hear and meditate upon in these days: "Do not be afraid". Oh how we need to hear that... and here's why Jesus says that: "I am the alpha and the omega, the first and the last". The One who speaks to us in these words reminds us that He is none other than the Eternal God, Creator of the universe, First Cause and Lord of History. He spoke all things into being on the first day and He will have the last word on the last day.
He declares: "I am the Living One" - the source of all life, the fountain that cannot be stopped and will never run dry, and always overflows to bless and satisfy the thirsts of His people. And then Jesus reminds us that He understands what it is to be us, to live in the realm of this world and under the reign of death: "Behold, I was dead...". The reason people are panicking across the world today is because they are desperately afraid of death and what lies beyond it. However, Jesus has already faced the greatest enemy of death and conquered: "but now I am alive forevermore". Dear Christian, that is your hope - that our lives are united through faith with the risen Lord Jesus Christ - that just as He has been were we one day will be (the grave) that He has also made a way for us to be where He now is (heaven).
Then at a time when so many things on the earth and in our daily lives feel completely dislocated and out of control, Jesus announces: "And I hold the keys of death and hades". I remember some years ago listening to a 1950s or 1960s sermon from James Philip on Revelation 1. It was the height of the Cold War, when the Doomsday Clock was perilously close to midnight and nuclear armaggedon. But he proclaimed the truth that the true centre of power in the universe that governs life and death is not in the White House or the Kremlin, but in heaven's throne room and in the loving hands of the Lord Jesus Christ. That's true today as we face the coronavirus pandemic.
Join us tonight to pray online. We'll have a link and video for you to watch, pause and pray along with.