John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be to you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come…
John had hardly begun to deliver his message to the seven Churches, he had hardly given in his name and stated from whom the message came, when he felt that he must lift up his heart in a joyful doxology. The very mention of the name of the Lord Jesus, the "faithful witness," etc., fired his heart. This text is just the upward burst of a great geyser of devotion.
I. THE CONDITION OF HEART OUT OF WHICH OUTBURSTS OF ADORATION ARISE.
1. This man of doxologies, from whom praise flashes forth like light from the rising sun, is first of all a man who has realised the person of his Lord. The first word is, "Unto Him"; and then he must a second time before he has finished say, "To Him be glory and dominion." His Lord's person is evidently before his eye. He sees the actual Christ upon the throne. The great fault of many professors is that Christ is to them a character upon paper; certainly more than a myth, but yet a person of the dim past, an historical personage, but who is far from being a living, present reality. Jesus was no abstraction to John; he loved Him too much for that. Love has a great vivifying power: it makes our impressions of those who are far away from us very lifelike, and brings them very near. John's great tender heart could not think of Christ as a cloudy conception; but he remembered Him as that blessed One with whom He had spoken, and on whose breast he had leaned.
2. John, in whom we notice the outburst of devotion, was a man firmly assured of his possession of the blessings for which he praised the Lord. Doubt has no outbursts; its chill breath freezes all things. Oh for more assurance! I would have you know beyond all doubt that Jesus is yours, so that you can say without hesitation, "He loved me and gave Himself for me." John was certain that he was loved, and he was furthermore most clear that he was washed, and therefore he poured forth his soul in praise.
3. John had also felt, and was feeling very strongly, his communion with all the saints. Notice his use of the plural pronoun. It is well for you and me to use this "us" very often. There are times when it is better to say "me," but in general let us get away to the "us"; for has not our Lord taught us when we pray to say, "Our Father which art in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; forgive us our trespasses," and so on? Our usual praises must be, "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins."
II. THE OUTBURST ITSELF.
1. It is a doxology, and as such does not stand alone: it is one of many. In the Book of the Revelation doxologies are frequent. If you begin praising God you are bound to go on. Praise is somewhat like an avalanche, which may begin with a snowflake on the mountain moved by the wing of a bird, but that flake binds others to itself and becomes a rolling ball: this rolling ball gathers more snow about it till it is huge, immense; it crashes through a forest. Thus praise may begin With the tear of gratitude; anon the bosom swells with love; thankfulness rises to a song; it breaks forth into a shout; it mounts up to join the everlasting hallelujahs which surround the throne of the Eternal.
2. This outburst carried within itself its own justification. Look at it closely, and you perceive the reasons why, in this enthusiastic manner, John adores his Saviour. The first is, "Unto Him that loved us." This love is in the present tense, for the passage may be read, "Unto Him that loveth us." Dwell on the present character of it, and be at this moment moved to holy praise. He loved us, first before He washed us. Yes, He loved us so much that He washed us from our sins, black as they were. He did it effectually too: He did not try to wash us, but He actually and completely "washed us from our sins." The stains were deep; they seemed indelible, but He has "washed us from our sins." "Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow," has been realised by every believer. But think of how He washed us — "in His own blood." Men are chary of their own blood, for it is their life; yet will brave ones pour it out for their country or for some worthy object; but Jesus shed His blood for such unworthy ones as we are, that He might by His atonement for ever put away the iniquity of His people. At what a cost was this cleansing provided I Nor is this all. The Lord that loved us would do nothing by halves, and therefore, when He washed us in His own blood, He "made us kings." We walk like kings among the sons of men, honoured before the Lord and His holy angels — the peerage of eternity. Our thoughts, our aims, our hopes, and our longings are all of a nobler kind than those of the mere carnal man. We read of the peculiar treasures of kings, and we have a choice wealth of grace. He has made us even now among the sons of men to possess the earth and to delight ourselves in the abundance of peace. Furthermore, our Lord has made us priests. The world is dumb, and we must speak for it. We are to be priests for all mankind. Oh, what dignity is this! Peter Martyr told Queen Elizabeth, "Kings and queens are more bound to obey God than any other persons: first, as God's creatures, and secondly, as His servants in office." This applies to us also.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;