Today’s passage continues a section in the book of Revelation that speaks of judgment.
As we’ve come to expect, the images we find there—things like the drying up of water, the plague of frogs, peals of lightning and thunder coupled with the shaking of the very foundations of the earth, and the coming of massive hail—all call up numerous stories from the Old Testaments. And the stories in turn call to mind God’s decisive action on behalf of His people. God would have His people be free, and so stands against all that would keep them from such freedom.
In the midst of all this, we hear a voice, and it is speaking directly to us: “See, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake and is clothed,” the voice says, “not going about naked and exposed to shame.” We recognize the voice, of course. It is the voice of Jesus.
God would have his people be free. He does stand against all that would keep us in bondage. His judgments against such powers are fierce. But what if we give up our freedom ourselves? What if we “fall asleep”, losing consciousness of what God is doing in the world and what He wishes to do through us? What then?
Blessed is the one who stays awake. Blessed is the person who is well aware that he or she is free to say “NO!” to the powers of this world, and deliberately, intentionally, follows Jesus.