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God with us forever: “I’m making all things new”

May 20, 2023

Daily Scripture

Revelation 3:20-22, 21:1-5

Revelation 3

20 Look! I’m standing at the door and knocking. If any hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to be with them, and will have dinner with them, and they will have dinner with me. 21 As for those who emerge victorious, I will allow them to sit with me on my throne, just as I emerged victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 If you can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”

Revelation 21

1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the former heaven and the former earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 I heard a loud voice from the throne say, “Look! God’s dwelling is here with humankind. He will dwell with them, and they will be his peoples. God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more. There will be no mourning, crying, or pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 5 Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look! I’m making all things new.” He also said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Revelation ended the Bible’s big story with a set of glowing, symbol-laden pictures of the glory that awaits God’s people. This expanded on Jesus’ teaching that, for God’s people, the end of the world is about redemption, not fear (cf. Luke 21:25-28). Scholar Catherine Cory noted that “John isn’t being transported to an otherworldly place; rather, he’s experiencing a new transformed heaven and earth (see Isaiah 65:17-19).” * As you read this vision, don’t “get lost in the weeds” of giant jewels and objects more precious than our minds can imagine. The vision used those objects, not as ends in themselves, but as symbols meant to show that the greatest eternal reward is that “God’s dwelling is here with humankind…. God himself will be with them as their God” (21:3).

  • Rome exiled the visionary who wrote Revelation, and ridiculed (and often killed) Christians. Yet John confidently wrote about a splendid future for God’s people. He used images from Genesis 2 to picture the restored (and maybe better than ever) garden of Paradise. John’s vision took the promise of eternal life from “just words” into powerful, mind-stretching images. And the exiled seer made it plain that anyone who is willing to live in God’s kingdom can share in that ultimate, life-transforming hope. “The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it…. Let the one who is thirsty come! Let the one who wishes receive life-giving water as a gift” (21:24, 22:17). Have you said yes to that invitation? How can you live every day in the light of that triumphant hope?

Jesus, you said in John 14 that you were going to prepare a place for us, that your Father’s house has lots of room. I want to be there when you make all things new. Thank you for promising me that I can be one of your redeemed, living with you eternally. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Patrick McLaughlin

Patrick McLaughlin

Pastor Patrick McLaughlin has served on Resurrection Downtown’s pastoral staff since June 2016. He and his wife moved to the Pendleton Heights neighborhood in Kansas City’s Historic Northeast with a desire to live in close proximity to the community he serves. His particular passion in ministry is developing community health by connecting and equipping people to deepen their relationships with God and each other through service, study, and reflection.

Have you ever seen a painting like this of Jesus knocking at the heart’s door? I REALLY wish Jesus had a knob on his side of the door. Theologically correct artists get the detail right–there’s no knob. I have to open the door. I mean, FOR REAL Jesus, just come on in; knock that dang door down if you have to! Can’t you see I’m too busy to hear you knocking, Jesus? Most everyone else does and they celebrate it!

And therein lies the problem. I worship at the altar of busy. It’s literally a gateway to the drugs adrenaline and dopamine that fuel me. Unfortunately, I also get hit with the drug cortisol which, when hit too often, goes beyond its protective functions and offers a different kind of high… high weight, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol. Further, like an addiction to most drugs, time with those I care about most is sacrificed. Maybe all that is TMI? But maybe you’re a little like me?

I’m learning to be more careful about that for which I wish. I’ve learned that Jesus WILL knock that door down and accompanying Him is a flurry of emotions, disorientation, and broken relationships. Frederick Buechner says in his book, The Final Beast, “The worst isn’t the last thing about the world. It’s the next to the last thing. The last thing is the best.” I’m a slow learner and too often test Buechner’s words by pushing myself and my relationships to the limit. Those who matter survive what feels like “the next to the last thing” with me. They sit with me in the humiliation, anger, sadness and paralysis. They help me to not act on my worst impulses. They help me to just shut up, slow down, evaluate priorities, and most importantly to listen.

Finally, those who matter most also get to celebrate with me. Together we begin to hear Jesus knocking again, offering his love as the healthy substitute for my drugs of choice. Not only will Jesus knock the door down–as a carpenter He also helps me put the door back up. Each time this happens (remember, I’m a slow learner), I’m more and more careful about who I let in and for whom I am staying busy. Each time this happens, I get a closer view of a new Heaven and new Earth. Amen.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* Catherine A. Cory, study note on Revelation 21:1 in The CEB Study Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2013, p. 523 NT.