As we continue making our way through the last book of the Bible, through what the apostle John calls “The Revelation of Jesus Christ,” through what John literally calls “The Apocalypse of Jesus Christ,” the breaking through from hiddenness of Jesus Christ by Jesus Christ about Jesus Christ, we come to the part of the book where, so to speak, things shift into high gear, and the action becomes much more animated and fast-paced.
In the text before us today, we come to the part of the book where most people stop reading and where most preachers stop preaching! I understand why. Most people will do what we have done over the past months: work our way through chapters 1–5 and then jump to chapters 21–22. And then move on to some other book of the Bible.
Understandably so! Beginning with Revelation 6:1, the imagery and symbolism start to come at us so intensely that we can begin to feel overwhelmed, confused, and frightened. Many stop reading because they are afraid to keep reading.
But making us feel afraid is not John’s or Jesus’ intention. Jesus does not give John, the churches of Asia Minor, and us his Apocalypse to frighten us. He gives his Apocalypse to help us keep our balance. He gives us his Apocalypse to fuel hope. Which says to me that if after reading the part of the book most people skip, if after reading Revelation 6–20, we find ourselves afraid, we have not read it correctly.
The fact is, beginning with Revelation 6:1, we move into the part of the last book of the Bible that most helps us make sense of what is going on in the world today. Which is why we are not going to do as most people do; we are not going to stop reading. We are going to press on as best we ...
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Darrell Johnson has been preaching the Gospel since 1968. He has served as Senior Minister for a number of congregations; in the United States, the Philippines, and Canada. He has taught preaching for Fuller Theological Seminary, Carey Theological College in Vancouver, and Regent College in Vancouver, where from 2000 to 2009 he served as Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology, now serving part-time as Teaching Fellow. He has authored eight books, including The Glory of Preaching (IVP Academic) and Discipleship on the Edge: An Expository Journey Through Revelation.