Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.
Revelation 3: 20-21
When we think of church today we may be think of the many impressive church buildings that scatter our land or perhaps the churches we have attended over the years. The part of the Book of Revelation that believers are often most familiar with are the letters to the seven churches. The Greek word for church is ekklesia, and translates into קָהָל, kachal in Hebrew meaning gathering or crowd. The English word used for for ekklesia is church, a word that came into usage 1000 years after Revelation. The ancient Christian communities based in Asia talked about in Revelation weren't as we think of our churches today with buildings, crosses, communion tables, baptistries and stained glass windows.
These early churches were generally small gatherings of people meeting in homes and public spaces. The people gathering, in these early churches, were likely to be Jews or former pagans who had believed in Jesus as the Messiah predicted by Israel's Prophets. These seven letters to the churches were prophetic, emphasising the difference between the authentic and the false. Believers were to test and distinguish that which was truth, and a reflection of the authentic Gospel.
Today Jesus' church is wonderfully diverse, with a multiplicity of expressions around the world, but always centred on the simple, welcoming Gospel of Christ. What should define a church is not the outward expression of the building but the inward expression of devotion of the people assembled. As we prepare our hearts for celebrating Jesus' death and resurrection this Easters let's rejoice in Jesus' church and be encouraged, seeing its diversity as a strength and pray that the Good News of Christ will be at the centre of every church and believer's life.
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.
Revelation 4: 8
Father God, we thank-You for all the different expressions of the Christian Church across the world. We choose to see this multiplicity of expressions as a reflection of Your incredible creativity and recognise this diversity as a strength. We pray that the Gospel is central in Jesus' Churches and in every believers life. We ask that our understanding of the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus would grow day by day. May we as believers and followers of Jesus be able to discern between the authentic and the false and have the power to share the Good News. Help us to live lives empowered by the Gospel. Amen.