Nourished by meals with the Messiah
Joel S. Heckendorf
The wedding supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:1-9)
“Everybody, up on your feet! Put your hands together and let’s hear a warm welcome for Mr. & Mrs. Joe Smith!”
Ever hear a disc jockey say something similar at a wedding reception? Music is blaring. Hands are clapping. All stand in anticipation of the bride and groom’s entrance into the reception hall. It’s a festive occasion.
As soon as you hear “Mr. & Mrs.”, you dance your way to the head table. There’s your mom and dad at the table in front of you. Tears of joy well up as you think about everything they did for you. Then you see Grandpa and Grandma, still in love after 54 years of marriage. You see your friends and your colleagues. You even see third-cousin Betty who crashed your wedding, and you’re glad she’s there. You take it all in, and all you can think is, Wow, I’m blessed.
Blessed. What a rich word! There’s something about that word that is calming, humbling, joyful, and so many other emotions wrapped up in one. Blessed makes you ponder. Blessed makes you smile.
But this is not your wedding supper. It’s THE wedding supper. The apostle John had a glimpse of the eternal wedding reception. His angelic host told him, “Write this: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’ ” (Revelation 19:9).
But we are not sitting at the table of honor yet. Today, you and I stand at the door, ready to be introduced. We know some of the guests who are already inside. We’ve been waiting to see some of them for a very long time. The anticipation is building.
But nothing happens. At least, not yet. And we begin to wonder: Can we go in? Are we fit to go in? Are we ready? As we sit in the hallway of this world, we worry about our unworthiness to be at the wedding supper of the Lamb.
And it’s then that we catch a glimpse of ourselves in the mirror God put in the hallway for us. And we look stunning. “The wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear” (Revelation 19:7,8). Dressed in his perfection, our Savior, the Bridegroom, grabs us by the arm, and we go in to enjoy his supper. As we sit there, we look around. There’s Mom and Dad. Grandpa and Grandma. Friends. Colleagues. Betty. And more.
And then we see him, the One who promised to love us forever. The One who loved us from eternity to eternity. We see the happiness beaming in his eye. And as we are about to enjoy our heavenly feast, we realize, Wow, we are blessed.
And that’s why we pray, “Come, Lord Jesus. Come, and let us be your guest.”
Food for thought
- Say the word blessed out loud. List those things that make you feel blessed today. Answers will vary, likely to include blessings such as family, health, wealth, employment, faith, etc.
- Compare the previous list with what it will mean to be blessed when we’re in heaven. Likely, the list of heavenly blessings will be far more in depth than the earthly ones listed above. For example, Revelation 18 talks about the Fall of Babylon, i.e., the fall of the Church’s enemies. Or we could celebrate the sheer “multitude” (Revelation 19:1) celebrating in heaven. As we see the Church attacked on earth, how glorious it will be to see the many people that are there.
- Prior to the vision of the heavenly wedding banquet in Revelation chapter 19, the apostle John sees many visions about the struggles facing the church on earth. Why? By seeing plagues, and wrath, and beasts, and much more, the victory of the Lamb becomes that much greater.It also offers great encouragement to us as we see the Church suffering today.How comforting to know that in the end Jesus wins.
Contributing editor Joel Heckendorf is pastor at Immanuel, Greenville, Wisconsin.
This is the final article in a 12-part series that looks at Jesus as a mealtime guest and how he blessed his fellow diners—and us—with his living presence. Find the article and answers online after Nov. 5 at wels.net/forwardinchrist.
Do you have a manuscript, idea, or story from your own life you’d like to share for use in Forward in Christ or on wels.net? Use our online form to share it to our editorial office for consideration.
Get inspirational stories, spiritual help, and synod news from Forward in Christ every month. Print and digital subscriptions are available from Northwestern Publishing House.
Author: Joel S. Heckendorf
Volume 105, Number 11
Issue: November 2018
Copyrighted by WELS Forward in Christ © 2018
Forward in Christ grants permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be printed for use in a WELS church, school, or organization, provided that it is distributed free and indicate Forward in Christ as the source. Images may not be reproduced except in the context of its article. Contact us