January 14 2022
Today, Thursday January 14
“Grace to You and Peace From Him…” Revelation 1:4-6 “John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: 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 from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
Remember the seven churches in Asia that John was writing this letter to, were under tremendous persecution by the Roman Emperor Diocletian. They were suffering far worse things than the corona virus is causing for us today. The believers of that day were being ripped to pieces by lions in large colosseums to the cheers and shouts of the ungodly, immoral and wicked people, and from the rulers of that time and day. They were being enslaved and taken from their families. And if they couldn’t be killed, like the Apostle John, they were exiled to prison islands where they had little to sustain them.
The last thing they needed was a letter from the esteemed and respected church leader, the Apostle John, telling them that things were going to get worse. They needed grace, mercy and peace just like we need today! So, before John gets into the future judgements that are going to fall on the world, he assures the believers and reminds them where the grace and peace comes from that they so desperately needed.
The New Testament is made up of twenty-seven books. The first four are the Gospels where we are introduced to Jesus Christ and are given the “Good News” of His great salvation through His death and resurrection! The Book of Acts is the transitional book that ties together the Gospels with the new born Church. You will notice that almost immediately as the church age begins, the believers face persecution.
In Acts 4, Peter and John are thrown into a jail cell and then told they are not allowed to share the message of Jesus. In Acts 6 and 7, Stephen faces opposition as he preaches Jesus, and then is stoned to death. In Acts 8, Saul unleashes such severe persecution on the Church that it is scatter throughout the Judea and Samaria. In Acts 12, James, the brother of John is killed by Herod, and Peter is sentenced to die also. And the story goes on as Paul takes the Gospel to the known world and he is mocked, ridiculed, beaten, stoned, imprisoned, and suffers for the name of Jesus.
So, is it any wonder that almost every epistle in the rest of the New Testament begins with these words, “Grace, mercy and peace?” And the last book of the Bible, Revelation is no exception! (I would encourage you to take the time to look at the introduction of all the epistles in the NT and notice this.) If you study the history of the church over the last two-thousand years you will discover that the wicked and evil people of this world have always hated and sought to destroy the followers of Jesus Christ.
Most people don’t realize it, but today more followers of Jesus are suffering and dying for their faith than ever before in Church history. Today, around the world, more than 340 million Christians live in places where they experience high levels of persecution, just for following Jesus. That’s 1 in 8 believers, worldwide. (www.opendoors.org)
Do you need God’s grace today for what you are facing? It might be you are suffering the loss of a loved one recently, or have received bad news about your health, or of a family member or friend. It could be major marriage issues or financial pressure in your life that has become overwhelming for you, and you are wondering how you can face another day!
Please take heart, over and over again in the New Testament we are encouraged and comforted with these words, “Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” You can by faith trust Him to give you what you need to face and deal with any suffering, situation or circumstance that you might be facing today!