May 3, 2019

That at the Name of Jesus Every Knee Should Bend

May 3, 2019


Psalm 30
Isaiah 6:1-4
Revelation 4:1-11
This weekend’s reading: Matthew 7:7-12


John’s vision in Revelation is most remembered for its depiction of the battle with the destructive powers of evil, but before the beast and the bottomless pit come into the picture, John assures his beloved community that all is not lost. Someone is in charge: God is on the throne.
John describes God’s throne in vivid detail in Revelation 4, and it is an image the prophets used before him. Ezekiel 1 has many similarities to Rev 4. Isaiah’s vision of God’s throne (Isa 6:1-4) comes with his calling to become God’s prophet. Isaiah notes the death of an earthly king in verse 1, revealing that the image of God’s throne has political implications. God’s people are to honor God as their ruler above all others. This affirmation is of critical importance to John’s community, who were suffering the consequences of refusing to bow down to Caesar. Even in a modern democracy there are issues that divide those who follow God’s rule from those who seek to use earthly power for their own aggrandizement. God’s throne presents a counterclaim to the world’s would-be autocrats.
Ascension Day comes at the end of May this year, and we celebrate it as part of the resurrection story: Jesus rose up from the grave and then rose up to God’s throne. As an early Christian hymn puts it: “Therefore God has highly exalted him and given him a name above every other name” (Phil 2:9-11). In our longing to know the future, we sometimes forget that if we know God—the God who raised and exalted Jesus Christ—we do know the future. Our future is with God.

Toward the end of John’s vision, he is shown an image of hope. From God’s throne comes life: “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev 22:1).


  • The throne of God is also known as the “mercy seat.” Read or sing the hymn “Come Ye Disconsolate” and reflect on the power of God’s throne to heal and comfort.
  • Read the Magnificat in Luke 1:46-55. What do Mary’s words have to say about God’s great reversal?


  • Think of words or phrases that help us get to know God: for example, Loving Parent, Tender Shepherd, Strong Defender, Just Ruler, Giver of Good Gifts, Faithful Guide, Merciful Savior. Can you think of others?
  • The Bible says we are made in God’s image. What does this tell us about how we know God?


God of all creation, you have promised us a new heaven and a new earth. Embracing this hope, we look to you for the newness of life today. Give us the courage to be your disciples. Help us to grow in our love for each other. We ask these things in the name of our risen Lord. Amen.