“约翰写信给亚细亚的七个教会。但愿从那昔在、今在、以后永在的神，和他宝座前的七灵，并那诚实作见证的、从死里首先复活、为世上君王元首的耶稣基督，有恩惠、平安归与你们！他爱我们，用自己的血使我们脱离罪恶，” – 启 1:4-5
约翰以耶稣基督（弥赛亚）之名，以恩惠和平安问候他的读者，这恩惠和平安来自昔在、今在、永在的神。耶稣是神赐给教会的一切的忠实见证人。唯有耶稣是“从死里复活的长子”，祂是被尊崇的王，胜过一切君王（另见西 1:15-20；诗 89:27），包括皇帝、君主、总统、首相、首席执行官和董事会主席。
“John, to the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, a
John is writing a letter, so he begins here with a greeting. Though he is writing to seven churches in the Roman province of Asia (present-day Turkey), this letter is not limited to those seven churches. Written under the guidance of the Holy Spirit of God, this letter is meant for the entire church of Jesus Christ.
The church is made aware of God’s grace in Christ to strengthen its faith in times of challenge and hardship, including physical persecution that will come its way. God has provided Jesus as the Savior, “the ruler of the kings of the earth.” Knowing this helps us to put all things into perspective as history unfolds.
John greets his readers with grace and peace from the God who is, was, and always will be—in the name of Jesus, the Christ (Messiah). Jesus is the faithful witness to all that God provides for the church. Jesus alone is the “firstborn from the dead,” and he is the exalted King over all kings (see also Colossians 1:15-20; Psalm 89:27), whether they be emperors, monarchs, presidents, prime ministers, CEOs, or chairs of the board.
To Jesus, “who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,” belong all glory, power, and praise forever!
Lord and God, thank you for helping us know you as our Savior and King. May we rest in you alone and honor you each day. Amen.