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November 20 lesson: Life and Healing

November 07, 2016
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Life and Healing

Fall Quarter: The Sovereignty of God
Unit 3: Alpha and Omega

Sunday school lesson for the week of November 20, 2016
By Rev. Earnestine Campbell

Lesson scripture: Revelation 22:1-7

Encountering God’s gift of abundant life and healing, present and future

Hearing the Word
The text takes us to the final chapter of the Book of Revelation. Let’s identify the characters in this text: we see the angel as the guide and speaker, John the apostle, the receiver of the message, and in Verse 7, the angel or Jesus the Lamb as the speaker.1 (Adult Bible Studies Fall 2016, The Sovereignty of God)

Revelation 22:1-2: The power of life-giving
Then the angel showed me the river of life-giving water, shining like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb through the middle of the city’s main street. On each side of the river is the tree of life, which produces twelve crops of fruit, bearing its fruit each month. The tree’s leaves are for the healing of the nations.

As we see in the Adult Bible Studies, we enter the last two lessons this quarter that connects the Bible from Revelation Chapter 22 to Genesis Chapter 2. The author, paraphrasing, brings us to the Creation story in Genesis 2. In Revelation 22, we see a new life creation story that’s symbolic. In Genesis 2, we encounter a river that waters the Garden of Eden as well as in Ezekiel 47:8-11 where the river brings life for all God’s creatures. In Revelation 22, we find ‘the river of life-giving water’ (verse 1). In Genesis 2, we encounter the ‘tree of life’ (verse 9) for the first time, and in Revelation 22, this tree of life reappears (verse 2).2

In the Bible, water has many representations, symbolic and metaphoric. It’s the cleansing of the sinner by the washing of the water of the Word of God. It is also the source of the living water that springs up into eternal life. It is insightful to see the connection of the Old Testament and the New Testament coming together in full circle. Indeed, when we embrace and drink of this life-giving power, we shall never thirst again (John 4:14).

Revelation 22:3-5: The power of healing
There will no longer be any curse. The throne of God and the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. Night will be no more. They won’t need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will shine on them, and they will rule forever and always.

The Adult Bible Studies expresses, paraphrasing, in Revelation 21:27 that those who practice idolatry are impure and not wise (accursed in the Greek word) and will not enter into the New Jerusalem (new city). The author tells us that in the new life, it’s a living void of what presently keeps us away from God. God requires us to abide by his requirements and, not to could mean exclusion from his paradise. Entering into the new city is not to be considered an automatic, but intentionality in our living for God.3 The author tells us that in the new life, our living will be void of curses; they’ve passed away, and no longer exist. God has given us an abundant gift, fulfilling Jesus’ pronouncement of authority presently and in the future.

I can imagine that we will no longer need a material Bible, as his name, the word, will be on our face and forehead, and I believe in our hearts. In modern vernacular, we’re sold out for the Lord! We see, again, as we did in last week’s lesson, the image of the power of God’s light and Jesus’ lamp that outshines and rules forever. We also see reaffirmation from the October 30 lesson that Jesus is the High Priest Forever. God continues to fortify his rule as all-powerful and everlasting with Jesus sharing the throne.

Revelation 22:6-7: The power of the divine
Then he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place. “Look! I’m coming soon. Favored is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy contained in this scroll.”

The conversation and declaration continue. In this text, the author expresses that the words “trustworthy and true” are synonymous and the author is solidifying that the Lord, the God, is reliable, authentic, and unwavering. “The expectation of the imminent return of Christ was common in the first-century church.”4 We hear of signs and prophecies of his coming today. The text teaches us to wait in hope and expectancy that he is coming for our ultimate healing and a new living. Matthew 24:36 proclaims, But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven nor the Son, but only the Father.

Thoughts to ponder

The power of life-giving: Reflect on circumstances and situations in your life. Do you see symbolisms that God was present in your decision and choice making?

The power of healing: Reflect on a time when you may have been ill, whether physically, mentally, or spiritually. What was empowering for your healing?

The power of the divine: How can you be a “favor” bearer of God’s words of healing and living for someone else that’s struggling?

Closing prayer
God, we drink of the river of your living Word as a light, lamp, and life-giver. May we continue to look to you and other examples that are bearers of your truth. May we embrace your truth during difficult times of fear, hopelessness and our darkest hours and know that your steadfast love and healing power endure forever. Amen.

Rev. Earnestine W. Campbell is the Associate Director, Office of Connectional Ministries. You may contact her at earnestine@sgaumc.com
[1]Jan Turrentine, Adult Bible Studies Fall 2016, The Sovereignty of God (Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2016, pgs. 114, 116)
2Ibid., 114.
3Ibid., 115.
4 Ibid., 116.

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