We are to live our lives with our eyes up, knowing that Jesus is moving us towards a glorious future full of hope.
“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”—Revelation 7:9-10
There are two tendencies we have in how we navigate our way around in this world: the first is eyes up and looking ahead; the second is eyes down—nothing to see except what is right in front of us.
This is played out quite literally when you see people walking around with eyes down, gazing only at their phone. This is something of a metaphor for our approach to life. The general direction of our world encourages us to live life with our eyes down, focusing on the immediate. So much of life just clamours for our attention right now. This leaves little emotional capacity to look forward.
When people are forced by an event or circumstances to look up, the response to what lies ahead is not always wonderful. The great majority of Australians now hold the view that coming generations are going to be worse off because of these recent global events, and a more difficult life ahead.
But let’s turn to God’s people. With our eyes down, it can appear that the Christian is under attack. So much of society is rushing away from any connection with the Christian faith. However, the true Christian life is lived with eyes up. The Christian faith has at its very heart the future. The whole unfolding story of the Bible is a relentless movement forward to the future. And it is a future hope—a glorious hope.
The vision of the great multitude in Revelation 7 is meant to move the heart and stir the soul. The church might look weak, and the judgement might seem so thorough that no one can stand. But here in this chapter is a multitude simply impossible to number.
And who stands? Together as one are individuals from every nation, tribe, people and language. The overall scope is that there is no group of people excluded. It is not as if the individual cultural and language backgrounds of the multitude have disappeared. No, when it comes to diversity, this is as diverse a group as will ever be assembled. What unites the group is something that makes the diverse background insignificant: they are standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb—the Lamb who is also the King.
The only way anyone can stand is through the blood of this slain Lamb. Jesus’ death is at the very centre of the Christian faith. The whole ground of our Christian living is made possible through the blood shed by the Lamb in his death. By the blood of the Lamb this multitude is forgiven, set free and eternally redeemed by the blood of Jesus.
The message for us is that Jesus is our certain, glorious and only hope. Lift your eyes toward the Lamb seated on the throne and keep moving toward what is yours—hope and salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Our Heavenly Father, we thank you for Your love and mercy toward us. We thank You that through our Lord Jesus Christ you have given your gift of salvation to us. Father we pray that in the power of your Holy Spirit you will lift our eyes—that we will be able to join the great multitude praising you and saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” Father, might we know and live this salvation in our lives day by day as we love and serve You, and as we love and serve one another. Amen.
31 Days Prayer Points
1. Pray for five people and share the Good News of Jesus with them.
2. Pray that God would use His people to reach one billion people this May.
3. Pray for an end to the coronavirus pandemic, both in Australia and globally.
Peter Hayward studied at UNSW and Moore Theological College. He has been involved in church planting in both Australia and the USA. He is now the Bishop of the Wollongong Region in the Anglican Church.
We invite you to join the daily 1-hour Zoom video National Prayer Call every night:
DATES: 1st– 31st May 2020
TIME: 8pm-9pm AEST
ZOOM URL LINK: https://zoom.us/j/776881184
ZOOM MEETING ID: 776881184
Every Sunday night in May, we will have an extended Zoom call from 6pm-9pm AEST.
See Zoom tutorial here.
Daily devotions brought to you by the Canberra Declaration.