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Do You See Jesus?

Here are some thoughts on the epistle reading for this Sunday, Good Shepherd Sunday that were shared with the people of St. Timothy Lutheran Church. 
Second Reading: Revelation 7:9-17
9After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. 10They cried out in a loud voice, saying,
 “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
11And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12singing,
 “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom
 and thanksgiving and honor
 and power and might
 be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
13Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?” 14I said to him, “Sir, you are the one that knows.” Then he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15For this reason they are before the throne of God,
  and worship him day and night within his temple,
  and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them.
16They will hunger no more, and thirst no more;
  the sun will not strike them,
  nor any scorching heat;
17for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd,
  and he will guide them to springs of the water of life,
 and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
A lot of people are scared to read the book of Revelation. The images can be frightening. We are influenced by the popular, but not necessarily good theology of movies and books about the end of the world. Even Martin Luther struggled with this book, writing, “My spirit cannot accommodate itself to this book. For me this is reason enough not to think highly of it: Christ is neither taught nor known in it” (“Preface to the Revelation of St. John” Luther’s Works, vol. 35). I hate to disagree with such a noted theologian, but I must. Christ, the Lamb is worshipped and glorified in this passage of Revelation. He is lifted up as the shepherd on this Sunday that is called Good Shepherd Sunday.
Basically, what we have laid out before us in this passage is a mega-worship service involving so many that they were innumerable. Have you ever been to a service in a church filled to the brim with worshippers and you are carried away by the beauty and awesomeness of the singing and prayers?
Come, let us together worship the Lamb, our shepherd, at the center of the throne of heaven. May we allow him to refresh us with the water of life and to wipe away our tears. Let us always be open to the ways this shepherd will lead us, like those who “follow the Lamb wherever he goes” (Revelation 14:4). Amen.

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