1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.
Too many people approach Revelation like the purpose behind the writing of it was to obscure truths. They treat it like it was delivered to John in a way similar to the way in which Nicolas Cage’s character in the film “National Treasure” received clues that he needed to decipher in order to solve the puzzle which would point him to where the hidden treasure is.
But if that is how the book was supposed to be approached, it wouldn’t be a “revelation” would it? No, it would be the opposite.
And so, to approach Revelation as if it were a mystery book full of hidden clues is a mistake. We see that here in these first few verses: It is the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to “SHOW” to his servants the things that must take place and, in turn, we read that John is giving testimony to all that he “SAW.”
And when the revelation of Jesus Christ was delivered to the church, their response was not puzzlement nor fear. Rather, they responded as John did in Rev. 22:20, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” because Revelation is ultimately a clear message about our blessed hope.
When John shared these words to the churches in Asia, the response was not fear, anxiety, but encouragement and hope. It should be for us as well.
Questions for Reflection and Discussion:
If you are discussing in a group, perhaps you could start with sharing your own experience with the book of Revelation. Have you read it? What do you think the main themes are in the book? What was the reason for it being given to the church? What have been some of the most outlandish interpretations of it that you have heard? Why do you think those interpretations are outlandish?
1) Christians often approach Revelation with a bit of trepidation, not expecting to be able to understand it. What do we find in these first three verses that should give us assurance that it can be understood and that it was expected to be understood?
2) What hints in these 3 verses are given to us that we should go into the book reading it differently than, say, Genesis or Exodus?
3) John tells us in verse 3 that “the time is near.” That was nearly 2,000 years ago! Was John mistaken? If not, how could he possibly say that the time is near?
4) John says that the one who reads and the one who hears what is written in Revelation will be blessed. In what ways do you think you can expect to be blessed by the reading of this book?
5) Do you live in hopeful expectation of the Lord’s return? Why do even some Christians have a hard time being excited about the idea of Jesus’ return? What challenges do you face in this regard? What are some ways that we can encourage one another to look in anticipation for the return of Christ?