At a friend’s bedside in a hospital emergency ward, I was moved by the sounds of suffering I heard from other patients in pain. As I prayed for my friend and for the ailing patients, I realized anew how fleeting our life on earth is. Then I recalled an old country song by Jim Reeves that talks about how the world is not home for us—we’re “just a-passin’ through.”
Our world is full of weariness, pain, hunger, debt, poverty, disease, and death. Because we must pass through such a world, Jesus’ invitation is welcome and timely: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). We need this rest.
There is hardly a funeral ceremony I’ve attended where John’s vision of “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev. 21:1-5) is not quoted, and it certainly holds relevance for funerals.
But I believe the passage is more for the living than the dead. The time to heed Jesus’ invitation to come rest in Him is while we are still living. Only then can we be entitled to the promises in Revelation. God will dwell among us (v. 3). He will wipe away our tears (v. 4). There will be “no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (v. 4).
Accept Jesus’ invitation and enter His rest!
Father in heaven, this life can be wonderful, but it can also be so hard. Thank You for Your Spirit’s presence with us now. And thank You too for the reality of eternal life with You.
When you’re weary in life’s struggles, find your rest in the Lord.
Today’s passage gives us a glimpse of heaven, describing it as a physical place (vv. 1-2). Jesus said He was going to prepare a place for us (John 14:2-3), and this promise is fulfilled in the New Jerusalem, the holy city (Rev. 21:2). While it is a great comfort that heaven is a perfect place with “no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (v. 4), the most important thing is that it is the dwelling place of God (v. 3). In this final vision of the beginning of eternity (21:1–22:9), John hears Christ declaring, “It is done” (21:6). The New Living Translation renders it, “It is finished!” echoing Christ’s victorious cry from the cross (John 19:30). Sin’s curse will one day be completely removed and reversed (Rev. 21:4-5; Gen. 3:16-19).