God is issuing a Divine Invitation!
It’s not just an invitation to salvation, although believers begin there.
It’s not just an invitation to experience healing or deliverance, although those are benefits of belonging to the Kingdom.
It’s an invitation to come up higher spiritually, to experience the supernatural dimensions of the Kingdom of God.
Why would we need this? Francis Frangipane says it best: “A Christian is not just a person going to heaven. Shouldn’t a Christian also be a person coming from heaven, with the goods, power and virtues of heaven?”
Christianity isn’t meant to be a just a security blanket, providing comfort when we contemplate death. It’s meant to be a dynamic relationship involving supernatural power here and now. The beloved disciple, John, understood this and gives us a glimpse into God’s multi-faceted invitation.
Rejected. Exiled. Imprisoned.
Holding tightly to the Word, yet cast out because of his faith.
A brother and companion to those in tribulation.
Yet in the end, John was a great communicator of prophetic revelation to churches throughout the world.
In the Gospel of John, there are no fewer than eight direct invitations from Jesus recorded for us, including: “Come and see!” “He who comes to Me will not hunger.” “Come and drink!” “Come to abundant life!” “Come forth to resurrection!” And even: “Come have breakfast!” The book of Revelation contains even more: fourteen invitations!
John the fisherman accepted Christ’s initial invitation to salvation, then recorded a boatload of other invitations he heard from Jesus as he walked with Him. John communicates so much to us about God’s desire for a deeper relationship with Him!
If you are waiting for an invitation from God, John presents it! John’s gospel gives us practical reasons to come to Jesus: we will no longer hunger or thirst. We’ll find life and rest. We’ll get to know Him, and He will also come dwell with us (John 14:28, 15:26, 16:7-13). Jesus, we find, longs for us to come to Him as a hen longs to gather her chicks under her wings.
Perhaps even more remarkable is John’s second book – the book of Revelation. I think what is most amazing about Revelation is John’s experience within it. Here we see, in diary form, what happens when a believer responds to God’s deeper invitation to “come.” We find out the details of what God has invited us to!
Having known Jesus in the flesh, John now comes to know Him more deeply by the Spirit. Despite being physically confined to the island of Patmos, John ascends into heaven spiritually at God’s invitation. He then returns from his encounter carrying heaven’s “goods, power, and virtues” - in a series of prophetic words.
John comes face to face with the Son of Man in bright fiery glory, a reminder of his previous encounters at the transfiguration and resurrection of Christ (Rev. 1; Matthew 17; John 20).
John then encounters the crucified Lamb in the midst of God’s throne (Rev 5), the only one worthy of opening the sealed scrolls. He is invited to “Come up here” to witness an historic and prophetic unfolding of events.
We wonder at these miraculous impartations of revelation to John: the detailed things he saw, the pattern for the end of the age, and the inner workings of heaven.
We see repeated invitations, first by the Lord, then by the four living creatures, to:
“Come and see.”
“Write what you see.”
“Come up higher.”
We watch as John looks and heaven unrolls its carefully sealed secrets, scroll by scroll. John soon needs no further angelic invitations; he looks for himself, he sees, and he becomes convinced of the Lord’s desire to impart prophetic wisdom that will shake the world as he knows it.
What exactly does John see, apart from the revelations concerning the end time churches? Here is a short list:
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.