Commentary by Walter Albritton
The Salvation of the Lamb Gives Us Victory Over Suffering
Key Verse: For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. – Revelation 7:17
The scriptures teach us that the Lamb of God suffered. The Lamb suffered, bled, and died for our sins. However, that was not the end of the story. The Lamb was raised up by the power of God. The Lamb, once dead, is alive and alive forevermore.
The Lamb, in fact, is Life, and he offers life, eternal life, to all who repent and believe. Without Christ, we are dead in our sins. With Christ, we come alive. We may have a relationship with the Lamb. This “new life” in Christ does not shield us from suffering. Indeed, in this world we shall suffer. We shall thirst for living water. We shall hunger for living bread. We shall weep when our hearts are broken. We shall find ourselves lost in the dark, longing for someone who can lead us home.
John understood this, for he suffered. He was thirsty and hungry. Exiled in a lonely place, He wept and wished for home. He could have given up, but he refused to quit. He opened his heart and mind to God, and God gave him a vision, one so powerful that it became the last book in the Bible.
This vision enabled John to see that suffering and death will not win the ultimate battle. The salvation of the Lamb overcomes suffering and God wins. Because God wins, all who are followers of the Lamb will share in the ultimate victory of righteousness. God rewards our faithfulness with eternal life in his presence. There we will sorrow no more. There the Lamb will become the Shepherd who feeds us, leads us to drink from fountains of living water, and wipes away all our tears.
John was deeply encouraged by this vision. He wrote of it to fellow Christians who were suffering because he knew it would encourage them. It did, and it has continued to provide hope for believers ever since. John was not only a man sent from God; he had a message from God for the whole world.
John was certain that God was in charge, no matter how bleak one’s circumstances on earth might be. The four angels “standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth – this is John’s way of saying, God is in control. Even the wind does not blow until God says, “Blow, wind.” John wants us to understand that this mighty God knows about all our hurts, and he cares. Not only does God care, he also has a plan for us, a plan that provides for our eternal salvation. Suffering may last through the night, but joy will be ours in the morning. Why? Because God says so.
What about our sins? Our lives are stained by our sins. We have no way to cleanse our garments or our hearts. With every other sinner, we cry, “What can wash my sins away?” John knows the answer – “Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” John sees God’s remedy. He sees “a great multitude” around the throne, and they are “clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.” How did their garments become white? They were washed in the blood of the Lamb! White symbolizes purity or righteousness. White robes are John’s way of saying that in saving us by the blood of Jesus, God has clothed us with the righteousness of Christ.
Palm branches speak of celebration and worship. When we consider God’s boundless mercy, do not our hearts overflow with praise? Can hearts strangely warmed by God’s unmerited love resist the overwhelming desire to worship the Lamb? Surely not! Little wonder our hearts tremble within when we lift our voices to proclaim, “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name”!
John says the Lamb is “in the midst of the throne.” What a marvelous truth! God is in the midst of our lives. He is in the midst when we suffer, when we weep, when we despair of life because of its relentless pain. John was testifying to the Presence in his own pain and loneliness. He knew that the Lamb was with him in the midst of his troubles. John wanted other Christians to remember that no matter how difficult the hour, God is in the midst with us! We can count on his Presence.
Our dear friend
Al Krinke called from his home in
I called Al to console him. Instead, he consoled me. My voice was shaky; his was steady. “Our family has gathered and we are planning a celebration of Shirley’s life,” Al said. “We know where Shirley is now, and we have assurance that we will see her again. We praise God for that hope.”
I knew from the sound of Al’s voice that God was with them; he was in the midst of that family’s sorrow, steadying them with his Presence. As I put down the phone, God gave me a vision. I saw Shirley, not dead, but alive, laughing and singing, with a palm branch in her hand. And, yes, she was wearing a white robe. + + + + (Contact Walter at firstname.lastname@example.org)