Probably not technically the right way to read this part of Revelation . . . and maybe it’s because I’m being overly influenced by Black Friday, or Cyber Monday, or Giving Tuesday, or this consumer-day-is-every-day time of year . . . but I find myself this morning taking note of the gifts that await me.
Well, not me by name, but me to the degree that I’m allowed to identify with the conquerors of Revelation chapters two and three–the ESV calling them those who conquer, while other translations refer to them as those who are victorious, or those who overcome.
The victorious, in essence, are those who are faithful until the end. Those who remain true to the Word, refuse to be drawn into the world, and resolve, by God’s grace and enabling power, to walk in the Way. These are the overcomers. And to them, the One who knows their works, Christ the Head of the Church, promises great reward for overcoming.
As I read this morning in Revelation 2, the rewards for faithful conquerors include: access to the tree of life in the paradise of God (2:7); a crown of life exempting its bearer from the second death (2:10b-11); hidden manna and a white stone personalized with a new name written on it (2:17); and, authority to rule alongside the King of heaven when He establishes His reign over the nations (2:26). Pretty great rewards I’m thinking!
But there’s one prize at the end of this chapter which, in a sense, makes the others pale in comparison. One promised reward that I think is at the heart of all other benefits for seeking to remain faithful. One outcome that is at the center of all other outcomes. And that is Christ Himself.
” . . . and I will give him the morning star.” ~ Jesus to the Church at Thyratira
(Revelation 2:28 ESV)
And what is this morning star promised to those who overcome? Flip to the end of the book and it, rather He, is identified.
“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the Root and the Descendant of David, the Bright Morning Star.”
(Revelation 22:16 ESV)
To the one who conquers, says Jesus, to him I will give Myself. What more could we want?
That is the great blessing of the gospel–Christ Himself!
Forgiveness of sins, adoption as sons and daughters, eternal life, an incorruptible inheritance–all promised as outcomes of our redemption. But all God’s promises find their Yes in Christ (2Cor. 1:20). And so, to have Him, to be given the Morning Star, is the great prize of the good news.
That God would dwell in the midst, that He would provide His presence, that is the prize above all other prizes. That He would not only own us as His special people, would not only welcome us as sons and daughters in His family, but would desire to come in and dine with us one-on-one, giving us Himself . . . oh what wonder! Oh what grace! Oh, give me Jesus.
I know it’s not about me and what I get. It’s not about me because I don’t deserve it–in fact, what I deserve, Christ bore on the cross. And, it’s not about me, because the Giver of every good gift is the one to receive all the glory. Yet, as the One who walks among the churches exhorts His own to keep on keepin’ on, He does so reminding us of the reward that awaits the faithful, drawing our attention to what awaits us after we have “fought the good fight, have finished the race, and have kept the faith” (2Tim. 4:7). We are to be motivated by the victor’s crown. And that, ultimately, is Christ Himself.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
(Revelation 2:29 ESV)
O’ the unfathomable wonder of the gifts of grace. To God be glory alone.