Psalm of Praise: Psalms 92:12,14-15
The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon
They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming,
"The Lord is upright; he is my Rock."
Bible Reading:Revelation 22:12-14
"Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me,
and I will give to each person according to what they have done.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
Blessed are those who wash their robes,
that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.”
Two weeks to go until Christmas will not seem at all soon to a child waiting for Father Christmas to visit, while for busy parents juggling all the preparations with work commitments and family life, it will seem very soon indeed.
I wonder what soon meant when Jesus said, ‘Look, I am coming soon.’
For the God of eternity, I guess ‘soon’ could be very open-ended. But ‘soon’ implies a level of anticipation, of expectation, of a promise that will materialise, of something to look forward to. Or maybe to dread.
Whatever ‘soon’ means in terms of the second coming of Jesus, his return will bring in a new heaven and a new earth with a new city where Jesus will welcome his own; those who have metaphorically washed their robes, whose sins have been forgiven.
And when he returns, Jesus will not come empty-handed. Revelation tells us that he will bring his reward with him, giving to each person according to what they have done.
Salvation is only through faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus; we cannot wash our robes ourselves. But, with sins forgiven and salvation assured, Jesus rewards his followers, we are told, according to their deeds.
As St Paul says, ‘We are saved by faith, for good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do’ (Ephesians 2:10).
Let us thank God then, that through faith in Jesus we are accepted and welcomed by God. Let us also seek to serve him in his world, according to his plans and purposes for our lives. And let us be ready for his return, whether ‘soon’ is in our lifetime or beyond.
Lord Jesus, help me to live in the joyful anticipation of heaven whenever that might be,
and to serve you faithfully in the time from now until then.
King of kings, Majesty