Revelation 21:1-6 Jesus Makes Everything New! Easter 5 April 24, 2016
By Pastor Kenneth Mellon, Trinity Lutheran Church and School, Pleasant Valley Rd., West Bend, WI
Grace and peace are yours from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, who offers us eternal life!
John’s vision from God for our encouragement is written in Revelation 21:1-6
These are Your Words heavenly Father to remind us of the new world that awaits us with Christ. Amen.
Dear Christian Friends,
I wouldn’t have wanted to be the Apostle John. Not only was he exiled on an island, but while there God gave him frightful visions of evil beasts and of the earth’s destruction. Yet, the last vision is one that we all long to see. It’s of Jesus’ victory over sin, death, and the devil and, after Judgment Day, it pictures a new place for God’s people to live.
Jesus Makes Everything New!
First, He will make a new home for us. Jesus was at the creation of this world as our first home. As the living Word, He spoke and it was made. (Psalm 33:9) Through Him, all things came to be. (John 1:3) But, we have sadly experienced how the power of sin has affected this world. There is pollution, sickness, fear, sadness, and death for all people. This is the first or “old order to things.” Paul, in Romans 8, pictures the world as a person groaning in pain waiting to be renewed. (v. 22) God described through Peter how this will happen, “The heavens (all things in outer space) will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare…. But in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.” (2 Peter 3:10, 13)
We will not need to worry about being in the middle of this cleansing fire of God. We will be called away to God’s throne above. But those who have not believed, shown by their evil lives, will be thrown into the lake of fire along with the devil, death, and all evil. (Rev. 20:15) They will not inherit the kingdom which was prepared before the creation of the world for the blessed, believers in Christ. (Matthew 25:34)
John saw what will replace this sinful world: “I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.” (v.1) John had heard Jesus’ promise to prepare a place for God’s people. Until Jesus ends the world that place will be heaven for the souls of believers. On the last Day, Jesus will renew our world to perfection. There will no longer be a sea that separates people or causes harm. Instead we’ll live in a perfect world with no sickness, no pollution, no storms that devastate people, and no harm from anything. The new world will be fresh and clean forever!
Jesus will create a new world for us. But, will we be ready to join the Lord in such a perfect place? Now, we have an inherited sinful nature and we sin against God and against other people. But, John’s vision shows second, Jesus prepares us to be new. John wrote, “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” (v.2) The New Jerusalem is a picture of God’s people, the Holy Christian Church. They are pictured as a bride beautifully dressed for a husband. The image is that a husband works to prepare a home for his new bride. When all is ready, He returns to take her home. Jesus didn’t build a home for us with His carpenter hands. He prepared a place for us by His innocent hands being nailed to a cross to take away all our sins and to make us pure in God’s sight. From the time of our baptisms until the end of our lives by faith in Jesus, God sees us clothed in Jesus’ perfect life. At the end of the world, all believers will be caught up in the air to be with Jesus. Then, John pictures us as descending with Him having His holiness so we can live in His perfect world forever.
Third, Jesus will give us a new relationship with God. John wrote, “I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.’” (v.3) The word for God’s “dwelling” means tent or tabernacle. It’s a picture from the Old Testament. When Israel was in the wilderness, the tent reminded them of God’s gracious presence among them. Daily prayers were offered at the tent on behalf of the people along with sacrifices for their sins. These were signs that one day Jesus would plead for people by His sacrifice so that we believers could be in His presence without fear of judgment.
Paul described this. “We… will all be changed — in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. The trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality.” (1 Corinthians 15: 51-53) Jesus won’t re-make our bodies with weaknesses from sin. John wrote, “Now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2) As God’s people, now we live by faith in Christ to save us. Then, we shall be as perfect as Christ Himself and be filled with joy to be with Him.
Fourth Jesus gives us a new life of happiness. John wrote, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (v.4) God personally will comfort us so we’ll never cry again. Why do we cry now? We have to say goodbye to someone who moves away or to someone who dies. We cry from physical pain or emotional fear, disappointment, or discouragement. The power of sin affects us all differently, but the result is sadness.
But, that will never happen to us in Jesus’ new world. There will be nothing to fear and no news to make us sad. If there is a newspaper in the new world, what will you find? There will be no list of names for obituaries – ever! There will be no shocking deaths of famous people. The will be no listing of accidents or sickness that lands people in the hospital. There will be no crime reported, not even in Milwaukee or Chicago! Everyone will have perfect health and perfect safety. Even animals will be at peace with people. Isaiah wrote, “The wolf will live with the lamb… the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.” (Isaiah 11:6) What a place of eternal happiness!
Fifth, Jesus gives us new confidence in Him. This last vision of John must have encouraged his faith. And he needed it. He was still in exile on the island of Patmos, separated from his loved congregation in Ephesus. Those believers were being persecuted for their faith. To him it seemed like the devil and his evil plans were succeeding. But, Jesus spoke from the throne: “I am making everything new!” “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.” (v.5, 6) Jesus commanded John to write down these words to comfort and cheer God’s people. Jesus defeated Satan, sin, and death at the cross when He cried, “It is finished!” As the Alpha and Omega, Jesus, God’s Son is Lord over history and the author and perfecter of our saving faith. He will keep us as God’s own to the end! In John’s vision, he also saw waters coming from God’s throne. Sin leaves us thirsting for God. But, Jesus offers us the water of Life to restore us. Throughout eternity our lives will be refreshed by His living water.
The Holy Spirit, working through the good news of what Jesus has done for us, has given us faith to prepare us for a new world after the last Day. John’s words of new life in Jesus should help us know that no matter what the world’s situation is now, no matter what types of problems there are, Jesus is in control and is guiding everything for our good to bring us safely to our new home with Him. Amen.