When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. – Revelation 1:17-18 NIV)
Urbana Day 1, 12/27/2018, Session 1
I have this habit of lamenting and avoiding the end of something that is good. I’ll order a pair of shoes I really wanted, only to leave it in it’s cardboard box for a couple months. Parks and Recreation was my favorite show in high school; but when season 7 was released, I didn’t watch the final season until a year after it was released.
Looking back, in both occurrences, it really seems like I was scared to be disappointed by something I held so valuable.
When it comes to my faith and my knowledge of the Bible, the book of Revelation has always been something I tried to avoid.
Study and even teach youth Sunday School about the history of the old testament, gospels, Acts, or Paul’s letters? Sure. The gospels, Acts and epistles offer so much hope and speak of grace and freedom…
But the book of Revelation talks about scary visions of lamp stands and beasts with multiple eyes and yikes.
If I’m bored when reading Revelation, does that mean that there’s something wrong about me… that I’m going to think that heaven is boring?
So when I found out Urbana’s main passage was from the boon of Revelation… uh oh.
But before long, our speaker, René Breuel, assured us that the book of Revelation is good news about Jesus, and not to instill fear. He told us that the specific words “rapture” and “anti-Christ” isn’t even in the book.
Quick 4 Points about Revelation:
- The book of revelation is a revelation of & from Jesus Christ.
- Revelation is a collection of visions of past, present, & future that the apostle John saw when in exile.
- Revelation addresses 7 churches in the province of Asia under Roman rule (province is now southwest Turkey (it is important to understand the circumstance/persecution of Christians during this time)
- Revelation discusses: why/when/how everything happens is a consequence of who Jesus is.
“When you see Jesus for who he is, nothing is the same.”
“Remember who holds the future. The future is not up for grabs or up to chance. Jesus is our future.” – René Breuel
In Revelation 1, John is overwhelmed by what he was seeing and fell down to the ground. But Jesus assured him “Do not be afraid.”
This reassurance is something all of us can carry in our daily life, but for me personally, it can also be applied to my fear & neglect when it comes to reading the book of Revelation. I don’t have to be scared, because the book promises hope in Jesus, not fear of death.
Next, a student shared about how in the last 3 years since his first experience Urbana, he has already gotten involved in cross cultural missions. He provided 3 misconceptions he had about Urbana before the conference in 2015:
- I thought I know what I want to do in the future
- I thought Urbana was for those who don’t know what they want to do
- I thought I wasn’t the missions type.
None of the above are true. For this student, he was opened to cross cultural missions 3 years ago when he didn’t expect it. We never know where and when God might call us.