I See You – Week 2
In the first week of our new sermon series “Apocalypse: Hope in the Dark” we studied the first chapter of Revelation and had our hearts & eyes & heads filled with the glory, power and presence of the risen Jesus.
And then this past Sunday, Pastor Dave painted a beautiful picture of what Jesus wants us to take hold of – our hope that is found in the perfect, everlasting, God-inhabited new heaven and new earth promised to those of us struggling through these dark days.
You may even want to read Revelation 21 & 22 to ingrain this picture deeper into your heart and mind.
This week we get to fill our ears with Jesus’ voice and message to His people. This video might help explain where we are in the book, and in John’s vision. You only need to watch it until 3:43
Revelation chapters 2 and 3 specifically address the 7 churches that are represented in John’s revelation by the 7 golden lampstands Jesus was standing amongst (ch. 1 v. 20) . While the 7 churches were very real, literal places in John’s day, the number 7 in visions/apocalyptic literature actually represents completion.
In other words, though the vision seems to single out only 7 churches, Jesus is actually speaking to the complete church.
All of His followers.
He is speaking to all of us.
Each one. Now. Today.
But what is it He’s saying?
Well (this is going to tie in, I promise) have you ever played peek-a-boo with a baby?
When I play I usually cover my face – maybe with a blanket or just my hands – and when I drop it I smile and say
“Peek-a-boo, I see you!”.
Without fail the baby is amazed.
They LOVE being told that they are seen.
They already know that their eyes are open and full of you –
but they are repeatedly startled and delighted when they realize your eyes are now full of them too.
This was the picture that I believe the Holy Spirit gave me as I prepared your daily readings for this week.
Revelation chapters 2 and 3 are Jesus assuring us that He sees us.
His eyes are full of us. Of you.
He sees you.
He loves you.
And He has something to say to you.
Let’s listen to Him this week together.
Day 1: He sees your “why”.
Rev. 2: 1-7
Before reading today, sit in silence for 2 minutes.
You may want to concentrate on your breathing, inviting Jesus into the silence with each breath. (Breathe in: “Jesus”; Breathe out: “I am here”)
Then read today’s text.
How do you relate with the people of Ephesus? Do you feel like you work, and strive and labour for the Lord?
Jot down the ways you feel you serve – in the church community, in your family, your workplace, etc. – and are maybe not acknowledged.
Hear Jesus say “I see you.”
In silence, reflect on why you do the things you do. Because Jesus sees that, too. And He cares as much about the “why” as he does the “what”.
Jesus tells the Ephesian church that they had lost their 1st love – Him!
He is the why!
They had become consumed and motivated by doing right, being right, looking right instead of being consumed and motivated by His love for them, and their love for Him.
“…If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing “ (1 Cor. 13:3)
Confess your “why” to Jesus and ask Him to renew your love for Him afresh today.
Day 2: He sees the truth.
Read: Rev 2:8-29
Begin this time today by closing your eyes and being aware of how you are sitting.
Breathe in and out slowly, placing both feet on the floor and sensing the stability of the ground beneath you.
Invite Jesus to give you eyes to see truth as you read and meet with Him.
Listen as He acknowledges your suffering – perhaps it is being impoverished like the church in Smyrna, or living/working in a place that opposes your faith like the church in Pergamum, or being completely overwhelmed by the amount you have to do like the church in Thyatira.
Breathe in: “Jesus”; Breathe out: “You see me” a few times.
Now realize that the compromises we make – whether it is to wallow in self-pity, or ignore sin in our lives or the lives of others, or making allowances for those who live in opposition to God’s ways to influence us – can slowly, sneakily soften our resolve to follow Jesus’ ways and teachings. And to deny the temptation of compromise will only give it more power.
Breathe in: “Jesus”, Breath out: “I need you” a few times.
Ask Him to point out any ways you are compromising your faith or convictions and repent today.
Day 3: He’s spurring you on.
Read: Revelation 3:1-6
Before you read this portion today, invite the Holy Spirit to speak.
Ask Him to show you the ways you may be relying on your past, your reputation, your track record instead of leaning into the work/family/ministry He has put before you.
Confess any hints of laziness or complacency and ask for a renewed sense of hope and vision in whatever area He’s called to mind for you.
Ask Him to speak – to encourage you to take hold of the identity and calling He has placed on your life.
Write down whatever you hear and thank Him for speaking to you today.
Day 4: He’s waiting.
Read: Revelation 3:14 – 22
Perhaps you’ve seen this painting.
It’s a depiction of Rev. 3:20.
The artist, William Hunt, explained
“I painted the picture with what I thought, unworthy though I was, to be by Divine command, and not simply as a good Subject.” The door in the painting has no handle, and can therefore be opened only from the inside, representing “the obstinately shut mind”.
Yet Jesus still waits.
Close your eyes and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you which doors in your life you are keeping closed to Jesus.
Take your time.
If you are a follower of Jesus you might be tempted to believe that you’ve already invited Him into your life so this doesn’t apply.
But ask Him to show you specifically where He is still waiting – your school/work, your family, your leisure, your friendships.
If you are ready, invite Him in.
If you are nervous, talk to Jesus about it. What are you afraid of? Ask Him to calm your heart and mind and give you the faith to trust and follow Him.
Day 5: Look at Him.
Read: Revelation 3:7-13
Today I feel compelled to have you just hold onto the promises in this passage.
Jesus knows you have endured, that you are tired and weary. He sees this.
Yet this passage reminds us that Jesus intends to reward our perseverance if we hold on to Him. If we c]would fix our eyes on Him.
Play this song and just sit in His presence today.