(written by Pastor Joe)
The Word for Today: Revelation 21:1-8
We live in a world of sequence, where the new is constantly replacing the old.
Sometimes that’s good:
Nintendo, Super Nintendo, N64, Game Cube, Wii
Sometimes that’s bad:
Jefferson Airplane, Jefferson Starship, Starship
Sometimes it’s neutral:
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Sequence is what we know, it’s what we live, it’s how this world operates. The old replaces the new and then the new becomes old and is itself replaced. But it is of the utmost importance that we do not come to today’s passage with that kind of mindset. Because in these eight brief verses, we have all sorts of new things appearing: a New Heaven, a New Earth, and a New Jerusalem. Here is history’s grand finale, at least as we know it. Everything is new, but it’s new in a brand new way, in a way that we don’t fully comprehend.
This kinds of newness is hard to illustrate, so to rescue me, I want to introduce you to a good friend of mine, Mr. Willy Wonka. (Take your pick between Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp.)
I am particularly fond of his candy called Gobstoppers: a sugary, color changing candy about the size of a marble. I have all the sequences down- purple turns to red turns to green and then you’re to the core and its gone. Time for a new one.
Nearly everything that we acknowledge as new falls into this category. Think how quickly all our technology dates itself. Our phones or computers or video equipment all have this nasty habit of becoming obsolete. Our new clothes wind up at Salvation Army. New newspapers end up lining the cages of our birds. The goods and times and relationships in life are used up, discarded, and replaced. Next Gobstopper please!
But in the story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, we are also introduced to the holy grail of all candy, the pinnacle of confectionery delight: the Everlasting Gobstopper. This mythical treat lasts forever, and is particularly valuable for “children with very little pocket money.” In all our experience, our world has nothing like this Everlasting Gobstopper. All our attempts to manufacture such an item are doomed to fail.
But beyond our world, beyond this fallen planet, there is actually something really new, not under the sun, but under the Son. He promises us “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade (1).” He says to us “Behold, I make all things new (2)” by what He accomplished on the cross. Only Jesus Christ can rescue us from the monotony of the ‘latest’ and bring us into the fullness of the ‘new,’ because this real newness is found in Him and nowhere else.
(1) 1 Peter 1:4
(2) Revelation 21:5