I love the words with which the Alpha and Omega closes each message to the 7 churches. They are each a picture of what life with Christ will be like in heaven for those who prove faithful. They are the most persuasive motivators for those who dare to imagine them.
How would you like to eat from the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God? That Tree of Life, I believe, is Jesus Christ Himself, who is also the Bread of Heaven. How would you like to be given the crown of life and then be immune from the second death?
Today, we hear from our Lord Himself that to those who overcome He will give some of the hidden manna to eat. What is this hidden manna? Your Sunday school teacher was right: the answer is Jesus! He is the manna, the Bread of God that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world (John 6:31). He is the Bread which will give us eternal life if we eat it.
This brings up an interesting time element, and thankfully so, because it helps me see how the words of Jesus are relevant even in this life. We shouldn’t assume that what Jesus says in Revelation about the rewards of the faithful are only for the life to come. In this case, the reward, which is the hidden manna, is also the means to the reward. How shall we obtain this hidden manna? By feeding on our Daily Bread, the Bread of Heaven, Jesus Christ, who gives His life for the life of the world.
Another way of seeing this is that even in this life we begin to partake of and participate in the great reward God has reserved for those who are faithful to Him. Even in this life we are allowed to share our life with Jesus and feed off Him and live in and through Him.
Those who overcome and persevere will also be given a new name. This new name is said to be known by none except the one who receives it. I don’t think that the meaning is that the name will be unknown as in “secret” but will be known in the existential, Adam knew Eve, sense of knowing. Only those who receive Jesus Christ will know the new name, which I believe is the name of Christ Himself. Names in the Bible are very important, and when there is a change in someone’s nature there is a change in name. Abram becomes Abraham; Daniel in captivity becomes Beltashazzar; Saul becomes Paul; and you and I become Christians. While Daniel was named Beltashazzar to mark the rule of the Babylonians over him, we are called Christians to mark us as servants of Jesus Christ.
But we are much more than servants: we are partakers of Jesus Christ. To those who overcome and keep Jesus’ works to the end, He will give power over the nations. Look at the astonishing thing Jesus says about you and me (if we persevere), in verse 26: “He shall rule them with a rod of iron; they shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessel.” These are words from Psalm 2 spoken of the Messiah, of Jesus. But Jesus says that to those who keep His works to the end He will give power over the nations, quoting Psalm 2. We shall reign with Christ!
These are amazing privileges and rewards that Jesus promises to those who are faithful to Him. When in the course of our daily round and trivial tasks it seems as if we are defeated, we should remember what the Lord has promised us. When it seems as if the nations are raging and the people imagining vain things, we should remember the Lord who sits in the heavens.
Practice today seeing the One like the Son of Man, whose head and hair are white like wool or snow and whose eyes are like a flame of fire. Remember the One whose feet are like fine brass and whose voice is the sound of many waters. See the One out of whose mouth the two-edged sword comes and whose countenance is like the sun shining in its strength. And feed off the One who is even in this life the Manna from heaven and the Bread of Life.
Especially today, when you eat the Bread of Life, remember to offer thanks.
Remember the Lord and His promises today: it will transfigure your day!
Pray: O Christ, who is the Bread of Heaven, feed me with Your hidden manna today that I might live in such a way that my bread, like Yours, is to do the will of the Father. Be for me today the Tree of Life and place on me Your new name so that I might live today as I will live in heaven, in Your blessed presence. Amen.
Points for Meditation:
1. Meditate on the mystery of bearing the name of Jesus Christ.
2. How might you feed off Jesus Christ today?
Resolution: I resolve to meditate on Jesus Christ and His promises today.
© 2012 Fr. Charles Erlandson
Category: Give Us This Day