The last chapter of the last book of the Bible concludes with an invitation to us then with a plea from us to Christ.
The invitation appears in verse 17: “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’ Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.”
The invitation to come to Christ is presented three times, followed by an invitation to take the free gift of the water of life. According to verse 17, the Holy Spirit invites us to come to Christ; the “bride” (anyone who has already come into relationship with Christ) invites others to come to Christ; and “him who hears” (all who have already heard the good news of Christ) invites others to Christ. All of us who have tasted of the love of Christ are to be involved in inviting others to taste of the love of Christ. This invitation to come to Christ goes out to everyone. “Whoever is thirsty” is invited to come to Christ and to take from him “the free gift of the water of life.”
In response to this wonderful invitation, and to the good news that Christ will be coming soon, the natural response is for us to plead with Him to come to us. Thus verse 20 ends with, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”
Thus the Bible concludes with God’s invitation to us to come to Him and with our plea to God to come to us.
Bryan Chapell tells a story about his wife’s visit to the St. Louis Zoo to see the attraction “Big Cat Country” which allows visitors to watch lions and tigers roam about in large enclosures: “As my wife and her friend took the children up one of the skyway ramps a blanket became entangled in the wheel of the friend’s stroller. Kathy knelt to help untangle the wheel while our boys—ages three and five—went ahead. When next she looked up, Kathy discovered that the boys had innocently walked right through a child-sized gap in the fencing and had climbed up on the rocks some 20 feet above the lion pen. They had been told that they would be able to look down on the lions, and they were doing just that from their hazardous vantage point. Pointing to the lions below, they called back to their mother, ‘Hey, Mom, we can see them!’
“They had no concept of how much danger they were in. Kathy saw immediately. But now what could she do? If she screamed, she might startle the boys perched precariously above the lions. The gap in the fence was too small for her to get through. So she knelt down, spread out her arms, and said, ‘Boys, come get a hug.’ They came running for the love that saved them from danger greater than they could perceive.”
That’s the message with which the book of Revelation concludes: Come to Christ! Come to the love that saves us from a danger greater than we can perceive.
The problem is that people don’t always recognize the love with which the call to us is made. Clark Cothern tells the story of a squirrel that fell down a chimney into the wood burner stove in the basement of his Michigan home: “I thought if it knew we were there to help, I could just reach in and gently lift it out. Nothing doing. As I reach in…it began scratching about like a squirrel overdosed on espresso. We finally managed to construct a cardboard box ‘cage’ complete with a large hold cut into one side, into which the squirrel waltzed when we placed the box against the wood burner’s door. We let it out into the safety of our backyard.
“Later, I thought, Isn’t it funny how, before its redemption, our little visitor had frantically tried to bash its way out of its dark prison? It seemed that the harder it struggled in its own strength to get free, the more pain it caused itself. In the end, he simply had to wait patiently until one who was much bigger—one who could peer into his world—could carry him safely to that larger world where he really belonged. That is what we need the Lord to do for us.”
The truth is that from the depth of love, God entered our world as one of us to rescue us and to invite us into a relationship with Him of never-ending love!