REIGNING WITH CHRIST
And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll [of the future unfolding of God’s will]?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. . . He came 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 [representing all creation] and the twenty-four elders [representing the entire people of God] fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song:
“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals,
Because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God
From every tribe and language and people and nation. Revelation 5:2-6, 7-9
When we say that Christians reign with Christ, we do not mean that they thirst for power, are set above humanity, exercise arrogant pride, or form some sort of high elite. The reign of Christ did not begin in heaven on a comfortable and showy throne—it began with the suffering and humiliation of the cross. And the co-regency of Christians begins at the same place.
FJ HUEGEL: As we have just seen [or have been seeing], Christians share their Redeemer’s Throne. With Christ the Lord they have been raised up, as it is in Ephesians, and together with Him they have been made to sit in heavenly places. Or as it is in Colossians, their life is hid with Christ in God. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne”—the savior’s word regarding this astounding fact according to the message to Christians in Laodicea as we have it in Revelation 3:21.
But the sharing of the power of Christ’s Resurrection has its conditions. We have just mentioned faith. As we shall now see, it is a faith which identifies itself with the cross. When Paul wrote to the Galatians saying: “I have been crucified with Christ,” he was not simply expressing a personal experience. He was, as we see from his epistles, voicing the faith and position of all true believers. When he wwrites to the Philippians of his all-consuming love for Christ, counting all things but loss that he might win Christ, and that he might know the power of His resurrection, it is not without being made conformable unto His death nor without sharing the fellowship of His sufferings.
PRAYER: Dear God, remind me that Christmas is, more than anything else, the foreshadowing of the death of Jesus on the Cross. The very humble and humiliating circumstances of his birth in a stable, to a mother with a suspicious pregnancy, followed by a refugee’s flight to Egypt, demonstrate this. Remind me that I cannot join the wise men and shepherds to worship and celebrate the baby at the manger without joining with the women to worship and grief the dying Son of God on the cross. For the sake of my Lord Jesus I pray this. Amen.