Epiphanies Come to Those who are “In the Spirit”

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Epiphany- Day 27

Revelation 1:4-8 The Message

I, John, am writing this to the seven churches in Asia province: All the best to you from The God Who Is, The God Who Was, and The God About to Arrive, and from the Seven Spirits assembled before his throne, and from Jesus Christ—Loyal Witness, Firstborn from the dead, Ruler of all earthly kings.

   Glory and strength to Christ, who loves us,
who blood-washed our sins from our lives,
Who made us a Kingdom, Priests for his Father,
forever—and yes, he’s on his way!
Riding the clouds, he’ll be seen by every eye,
those who mocked and killed him will see him,
People from all nations and all times
will tear their clothes in lament.
Oh, Yes.

The Master declares, “I’m A to Z. I’m The God Who Is, The God Who Was, and The God About to Arrive. I’m the Sovereign-Strong.”

CONSIDER THIS. . .

Talk about an epiphany. The Revelation of John is actually epiphanies wrapped in epiphanies. For starters, remember that Revelation is itself one big epiphany– a vision– a realization of revelation. A couple of verses after the text at hand we read:

“I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet 11 saying, “Write in a book what you see and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamum, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”

Note the sequence here. John was in the Spirit. . . on the Lord’s day, . . . first he heard. . . . then he saw. I don’t want to establish John’s Revelation as a normative experience for us. It is clearly the extraordinary inspiration of the Holy Spirit and one of its kind. I do think there is something for us, though, in the sequence of this unfolding epiphany. 1. John was in the Spirit. 2. First he heard. 3. Next he saw.

What does it mean to be “in the Spirit?” Isn’t this the normative experience of the follower of Jesus today? I think so. Listen to how Paul prays for us in Ephesians 3:16-17:  I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit,  and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.

This is the precondition for epiphanies in one’s life. And isn’t this what Paul is ultimately praying for in this prayer– massive, earth shattering epiphanies for the followers of Jesus:

“I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

Focus on that today– living “in the Spirit,” “strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit.” And buckle up. (jdw)

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