Scripture: Revelation 1:4-20
Key verses: (4-5) “Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth”
Reflection: “Grace to you and peace…” It is a salutation many Christians use today. I use it at the end of emails and letters I often send, “Grace and peace,” I say before I sign my name.
These words are easy to say for us. They send a kind and warm signal to the one receiving our message. However, these words were not always easy to say.
When John of Patmos wrote those words at the opening of his letter to the seven churches of Asia that we know as the book of Revelation, these words were incendiary. In his day, as one scholar reminds us, grace (prosperity), and peace (domestic tranquility) were gifts given solely by the emperor. John, by using these words, “Unleashes…a shot across Caesar’s imperial bow.” (1) For John declares in no uncertain terms that “grace and peace” come not from the emperor but only from someone else — from God, God’s seven spirits (the Spirit filling the seven churches?), and from Jesus Christ. What seems an innocuous greeting in a letter, John has turned into “a theological and political manifesto.”(1)
Today, as we consider the grace and the peace we enjoy, are we clear about from where they come? Regardless of what we hear in the culture around us, grace (true prosperity), and peace, (genuine tranquility), come only from God, the God who has come to us in Jesus the Christ. And since this God has “dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (Rev. 1:6) this grace and peace can never be taken from us. We can count on that!
Prayer: Gracious God, the sole source of grace and peace, we give you thanks this day. Give us the will to live in the light of your grace and peace and share it with all whom we encounter. In the name of Jesus the Christ we pray. Amen.
Author: Pete Peery
(1) Brian K. Blount, Revelation. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 2009, p. 34.
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].