Today we focus on the reading from Revelation with a devotion from The Revelation to John.
The mystery of [God’s] way presses hard on the servants of the “Sovereign Lord”; they die, not despite the fact that they are His servants but because they are His servants, who have kept and witnessed to His Word. They see the Antichrist victorious and feel that their history, going its old familiar way of war and dearth and death, has trodden them down into a meaningless death. But the prophetic word assures them that it is no meaningless death that they have died; the life they have given has been a sacrifice acceptable to God (cf. Phil. 2:17; 2 Tim. 4:6), not forgotten nor wasted. They need not cry out to their “Sovereign Lord,” to bid Him hallow His name by vindicating them in their unequal struggle against the inhabitants of the earth, the men whose home and horizon is the earth, men without an eye or a hope for anything beyond it and its glories, the successful and superior men who take the cash of the present and let the credit of the future go.
Even now, while their lives are poured out in sacrifice at the foot of God’s altar (9), the white robe of vindication and victory is theirs and they are bidden to rest in peace until their fellow servants, destined to die victoriously as they have died, shall have been added to their number. God, who numbers the very hairs on their head (Matt. 10:30), has numbered them all, and His numbering must be made complete before the final victory for all God’s people can come. The church has no promise that things will get better by and by, but she is assured that her Lord’s beatitude on those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake (Matt. 5:10–12) still holds.
O Lord Jesus Christ, only begotten Son of God, in Your Word, You have prescribed for us this rule of love: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). I pray also to You, the most generous forgiver of sins, for my enemies and for those who persecute the church (Luke 6:35). Give me the grace of Your Holy Spirit so I not only forgive my enemies from my heart, but also heartily pray for their salvation. Do not sharpen over them the stern sword of revenge; instead, anoint their heads with the oil of mercy. Extinguish in their hearts the hot ashes of wrath and hatred so they do not flame up into the infernal fires of hell. . . . May the brightness of heavenly truth strike their eyes shut so the rabid furor for persecution is stilled in their souls. . . . Convert them, O God, so they obtain the fruits of their conversion in this life and in the life to come. Amen.
Devotional reading is from The Revelation to John, page 62 © 1968 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.
Prayer is from Meditations on Divine Mercy, pages 146–47 © 1992, 2003 M. C. Harrison. Published by Concordia Publishing House.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.