My journey through the New Testament has finally brought me to the book of Revelation. I must say it’s one of my favorite books of the Bible. And no, I don’t claim to understand a good portion of it, but I love it nonetheless. It must be that part of me that loves to pick up a great book I’ve read before and read only the last chapter. The chapter where the long lost son returns home to his father. The chapter where the prisoner held unjustly is set free. The chapter where the woman held in bondage escapes from her captors. The chapter where the couple in love are finally married. Don’t you just love happy endings? I do.
In fact, we just watched a kids movie. You know. The animated kind. But I was blown away all over again by the way they borrowed their lines from “the Story.” A kid leaves home to follow a dream. The dream is shattered. But there are broken people who need help, so, as his father always taught him-- “see a need, fill a need”, he goes to work helping the helpless. But evil is against him. Evil doesn’t care about the needs of people, only making more money. But guess what. Evil never wins. The good guys come out on top. Evil is thrown into a raging fire. Goodness is the champion. And everyone ends up dancing.
That’s why I love Revelation. Evil never wins. The righteous come out “on top!!” Evil is thrown into a raging lake of fire. The righteous will reign forever with Him as champions. And everyone ends up dancing!
Revelation helps put the “now” into perspective. In this life we have shattered hopes. We have transition and change. There is cancer. There is death. But we forget that we’re not at the end of the book yet! We really don’t know what chapter we’re living in right now. And the “happily ever after” won’t be in this life. That’s Heaven. That happens when we return to Eden. That happens when evil is destroyed forever. That happens when God’s glory is displayed to the nations. But it’s not yet.
All that to say this: In my reading, I came to . . .
"And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb." (Revelation 21:14)
Wait a minute. Who has their names on the foundation stones of the city? You’re kidding. Twelve guys who followed Jesus. But weren’t they uneducated, smelly fishermen? At least some of them? And the others, a tax collector? No-name guys? Ordinary men? They sure weren’t wealthy. They hadn’t given lots of money to charity or started any faith-based programs for the needy. No doctorate degrees among them. Two of them Jesus called “sons of thunder.” Wonder what he meant by that exactly. These were men who argued about who would be the greatest. They didn’t always “get” his messages cloaked in parables. They were fearful. They thought when he died, he died for good.
But these are the guys who get their names on the foundation of the Heavenly city?
Just let that sink in a little. Ponder where you are in your part of the story. Go read “Epic” by John Eldredge. It might help a little with your perspective.
Nope. My name won’t be on any foundation stone. But I’m part of God’s big story and I’ve been given new hope because God thinks smelly, uneducated fishermen are important enough to put their names on the foundation of His beautiful city. And I think when I get there I’d like to find one of those names and let my fingers trace the letters and be reminded that Peter or John or James could have been my name. Ordinary. But I too have been given a place in the Kingdom.
Go live your story.
With the end in mind.