How do you look forward and look back in life? What are you looking back to? What are you looking forward to?
Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the centre of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne. And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth.”
Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honour and glory and praise!”
Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honour and glory and power, for ever and ever!”
The last book of the Bible, Revelation, calls us to live our lives looking forward and looking back. We look forward to the new creation, where we’ll be with God forever. We look back to God’s great victory on our behalf, to the victory that makes that future possible. What victory is that? The victory introduced in Revelation 5:5, “See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed.” A reference to Jesus. How has he triumphed? John turns at that point and sees how Jesus has triumphed, “Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing at the centre of the throne.” (Revelation 5:6). This is a picture of Jesus’ death on the cross. How is Jesus’ death on the cross God’s great victory? John tells us, he tells us the song of heaven, the song that’s sung to Jesus: “…with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation.” (Revelation 5:9)
This is the way we see ourselves, living lives shaped by looking forward and looking back. We look back to the victory at the cross. As the song of heaven sings, we are purchased by God, cleansed and forgive. And so we look forward to the new creation, and this way of seeing things now shapes our lives. In the words of JI Packer, how do I know see myself as one who looks forward and back in this way? “I am a child of God. God is my Father; heaven is my home; every day is one day nearer. My Saviour is my brother; every Christian is my brother/sister too.”
Head: How does Jesus change the way I look forward and look back in life’s key moments?
Heart: How does my heart respond to the song of heaven (Revelation 5:9)?
Hands: How can this looking forward and looking back change the way I speak and behave toward others today?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for Jesus, whose death and resurrection I look back to in thankfulness and whose gift of eternal life I look forward to with joy. Please enable my life’s choices, words and actions to be shaped by this Jesus-focused looking forward and back. Please enable me to change the way I speak and behave toward others today as I look forward and back in this Jesus-focused way. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
A song to listen to: Jerusalem
This Grow Daily was originally posted as part of The Jesus in series in 2016. During the School Holidays we take the opportunity to look back at the best of Grow Dailys over the years.