Come to the New Jerusalem
“The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come…”Revelation 22:17
Many years ago, when I would get frustrated with life, I would cry out, “Maranatha!” The word maranatha is a transliteration of the Aramaic word for “come” and Paul uses it in 1 Corinthians 16:22, where he says, “Our Lord, come!” When I would use the word in exasperation, Miranda would inevitably remind me that Jesus is not going to come on a rescue mission. When He comes again in glory He will be coming for a bride prepared for the Bridegroom! Revelation 19:7-8 tells us that Jesus is coming for a Bride who “has made herself ready”…and is clothed “with fine linen, bright and pure.” Jesus Himself tells us in the story of the wedding feast in Matthew 22:11, that the one who appears at the wedding without wedding garments is bound “hand and foot and cast into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” It is Jesus who clothes us. It is Jesus who prepares us for our life together in Zion. And He wants us to invite others into His New Jerusalem, that He may clothe them and have them live with Him in righteousness.
We do want the Lord to come again soon. But, as we have seen through these forty days, it is the Lord who is inviting us to come! He is ready, and it is His desire to clothe us in fine linen, the righteous deeds of the saints. He has called us and has brought us to the New Jerusalem. But as was pointed out on Ash Wednesday, Jerusalem and Zion are two terms for the same city. Zion indicates our unique relationship with God, while Jerusalem is a designation for the spiritual city reaching out to, and influencing the nations of the world. Jerusalem is the city from which God calls to those who are distant from Him. God created us, redeemed us, and has called us to come home to Zion, so that from this New Jerusalem we might reach out to the nations of the world and see them join us in His Heavenly City. He has called us to “Come”, and He is challenging us to call others to “Come”. Like Philip who said to Nathaniel when the latter had doubts, “Come and see” (John 1:46), we only need invite others to come and see the New Jerusalem. It is the Lord who will prepare them and clothe them.
The New Jerusalem was never intended to be for us alone. There are many who are desperate for the fulness of life found in the New Jerusalem. There are multitudes who are thirsty for the healing waters of the River of Life. The Bread of Life is for all of the hungry in the world. The Way of Life is for all who are lost. We are the Bride of Christ, and the Spirit of the Bridegroom within us is calling to all: “Come!” St. John gives us this word of exhortation at the end of his revelation: “The Spirit and the Bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price…He who testifies to these things says, ‘Surely I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:17, 20).
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. Come and clothe us in the wedding garments that You have prepared for us, that we may live with You and rejoice always in our marriage to You. Come, Lord Jesus, that we may live with You and one another in the New Jerusalem.
May the Risen Christ be with you always. Amen.