Note from Randy: This article by Marshall Segal, with reflections on the prayer “Come, Lord Jesus” is wonderful.
How grateful we are for God’s promise of resurrected bodies and renewed minds, with which we will be better able to glorify and enjoy Him forever. We aren’t ready yet to appreciate the eternity of wonders He has prepared for us. But some days, we feel like we can’t wait any longer. In His perfect timing, He will take us out of this fallen world, and bring us into His presence. And then, at the time He appointed, He’ll send His Son back to this earth triumphant, to set up His Kingdom. And He’ll give us what we do not deserve: resurrected minds and bodies in perfect communion with Him and our spiritual family. We long for the great banquet and the celebration that never ends. Come, Lord Jesus!
The Prayer to End All Prayers
By Marshall Segal
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20)
The last prayer in the Bible is also one of its shortest — and yet it’s layered with heartache and anticipation, with distress and hope, with agony and joy. Can you imagine the apostle John, the disciple whom Jesus loved (John 13:23), savoring those three words — “Come, Lord Jesus!” — while he was abandoned among criminals on the island of Patmos? Does the promise that Christ will come again ever feel sweeter than when life on earth feels harsh and unyielding?
It’s almost as if John tries to draw the risen Jesus out of heaven, praying with all his might. The barren, rocky ground beneath his knees was more than a prison; it was a model of the curse, twenty square miles overrun with the consequences of sin. Suffering does this. It opens our eyes wider to all that sin has ruined, just how much pain and havoc it has wrought in the world. And, in a strange way, suffering often awakens us to the promise of his coming.
Weakness and illness make us long all the more for new bodies. Prolonged relational conflict makes us long all the more for peace. Wars and hurricanes and earthquakes make us long all the more for safety. Our remaining sin makes us long all the more for sinlessness. “Come, Lord Jesus!” is the cry of someone who really expects a better world to come — and soon. Suffering only intensifies that longing and anticipation.
Many Prayers in One
The prayer “Come, Lord Jesus!” is really many prayers in one. What will happen when Christ finally returns? The opening verses of Revelation 21 tell us just how many of our prayers will be answered on that day.
Come, Lord Jesus, and dry our tears. Followers of Jesus are not spared sorrow in this life. In fact, following him often means more tears. Jesus himself warned us it would be so: “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). But one day, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 21:4). In that world, we will not have tribulation, or sorrow, or distress, or persecution, or danger. When he returns, we’ll never have another reason to cry.
Come, Lord Jesus, and put an end to our pain. Some long for the end of heartache; others feel the consequences of sin in their bodies. Pain has followed them like a shadow. Revelation 21:4 continues, “. . . neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore.” Can you imagine someone who has battled chronic pain for decades waking up one morning and feeling no more pain? It will be like a man who has never seen anything clearly finally putting on his first pair of glasses — except the sufferer will feel that sensation in every muscle and nerve. The absence of pain will free his senses to enjoy the world like never before.
Come, Lord Jesus, and put death to death. Jesus came to dethrone death. Hebrews 2:14–15 says, “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” Every one reading this article was once enslaved to the fear of death. But death lost its sting when the Son of God died. And one day, death itself will die. When the Author of life comes, “death shall be no more” (Revelation 21:4).
Come, Lord Jesus, and rid us of sin. This burden may be more subtle in these verses, but it would not have been subtle in John’s imagination. He writes in verse 3, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man.” And he knew that God cannot dwell with sin. For God to come and dwell with us, he will have to first eradicate the sin that remains in us — and that’s exactly what he promises to do. The sin that hides in every shadow and behind every corner will be suddenly extinct. He will throw every cause of sin into his fiery furnace (Matthew 13:41). “When he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).
Come, Lord Jesus, and make it all new. In other words, anything not included in the prayers above will be made right too. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1). Nothing here will go untouched. Whatever aspect of life on earth afflicts you most, it will be different. Whatever fears have plagued you, whatever trials have surprised you, whatever clouds have followed you, they all will be transformed — in the twinkling of an eye — and stripped of their threats. In the world to come, we will have nothing to fear, nothing to mourn, nothing to endure, nothing to confess. Can you imagine?
More than a prayer for relief, or safety, or healing, or even sinlessness, though, “Come, Lord Jesus!” is a prayer for him.
His Presence Is Paradise
The burning heart of John’s three-word plea is not for what Jesus does, but for who he is. This is clear throughout the book of Revelation. The world to come is a world to want because Jesus lives there. John’s prayer, after all — “Come, Lord Jesus!” — is a response to Jesus promising three times in the previous verses, “Behold, I am coming soon. . . . Behold, I am coming soon. . . . Surely I am coming soon” (Revelation 22:7, 12, 20).
While the apostle wasted away in prison, he could see the Bridegroom on the horizon (Revelation 1:12–16). His hair white, like snow. His eyes filled with fire. His feet, like burnished bronze. His face, like the sun shining in full strength. The man he had walked with, talked with, laughed with, and surely cried with, now fully glorified and ready to receive and rescue his bride, the church. The Treasure was no longer hidden in a field, but riding on the clouds.
Even the vision of the new heavens and new earth in Revelation 21 makes God himself the greatest prize of the world to come: “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God” (Revelation 21:3). Yes, we want a world without grief, without pain, without fear, without death. But better to have a world like ours with God, than to have any other world without him. His presence defines paradise.
Read the rest of the article on Desiring God.
By Randy Alcorn, Eternal Perspective Ministries, www.epm.org. Used with permission.