Sunday School: A New City
Good morning! We're glad you decided to read the lesson today!
This week, we are having worship at the Washington County Fair. We are not meeting in person. We hope we get to see you at the fair!
This week, we are not able to be together for Sunday School. So take some time to consider your last week, and any prayer requests you might have. If you feel comfortable, you can add them as a comment on this post so we can all pray. When you are ready, use this prayer (source) to get started as you read the Sunday School lesson.
Lord, thank you for this time you’ve given me to open your Word and discover who you are. Thank you that you don’t leave us in the dark about who you are and what you are doing in the world, but that you have revealed yourself and your will through the Bible, your sacred words to us. Lord, I need wisdom as I read your Word. You promise us in James 1:5 that we only have to ask for wisdom to receive it. Lord, please give me your wisdom now as I approach your word. Help me discern the truth of this text. Help me not rely on my own understanding. Thank you God for the clarity, encouragement and hope your Word brings.
In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.
Today's lesson is on Revelation 21:10-21. It picks up where last week's lesson left off.
I visited the Louvre in Paris with the golden inlay walls and ceilings and realized that in John’s vision the New City will be more glorious than anything we have ever seen or experience.
John sees a great city coming from the heavens. Isiah and Ezekiel envisioned the centrality of God’s city, Jerusalem. This New Jerusalem would be the source of joy for all God’s people. Throughout history, God’s people have held firmly to the truth that God will provide for his people at the end of time.
John describes how he was carried by one of the seven angels. Since he asserts that this experience took place in the Spirit, we can infer that this was a vision. This New Jerusalem will be place where God will dwell with his people.
The vision of the city coming down out of heaven serves as a representation of God’s relationship with humanity. God’s city, his dwelling place, will come down to be among his people. Mediation between God and humanity will no longer be needed. God will be present with his people in the city. It will not need celestial bodies like the sun because God’s glory will lit up the city,
The walls of Jerusalem will serve a different purpose than an earthly wall. In John’s vision, the heavenly city’s enemies have been destroyed. Therefore, this wall doesn’t not serve to keep out our adversaries but holds God’s glory and purity.
The description of the twelve gates for each of the tribes of Israel means that all of God’s people will be included in that city.
The dimensions of the city resembles the dimensions of the inner sanctuary of the temple - the most Holy Place where God’s glory dwelt among Israel . In this heavenly city there is no need for the Most Holy Place.
This city is covered in precious gems and gold. It is glorious. There are twelve gates with twelve pearls with the twelve tribes of Israel on them. There are twelve angels too. The great street is made out of gold. Like trees lining a boulevard, the tree of life stood on both sides of the street. I have heard many people talk about the pearly gates and the streets of gold in heaven.
God displays beauty for his people. Bu more importantly, God will bring new life. Ultimately, he will restore his creation for his glory.
Approximately 500 miles southeast from St. Colman’s Cathedral sits the royal chapel of Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, France. While the 700 year old chapel is small and unassuming, its size is not its main draw. Instead, the chapel’s massive and delicate stained glass features are its claim to fame.
Over 1,000 individual biblical and historical scenes are depicted in stained glass, arranged across 15 windows, each approximately 50 feet high. As the sun shines across Paris and pours through the stained glass, the chapels naves lights up with hues of blues, reds and greens.
The apostle John used vivid language to describe a glorious and splendid heavenly city. Unlike earthly cities, the heavenly city glows with the brightness of God’s glory. God’s glory shines through the city, more vivid and illumination than sunlight. Our hope as believers is that we will someday worship God in that beautiful, heavenly city.There will no place like it.
Creator God, you are a God of beauty. Thank you for glimpse if your glory that we see through your creation. Help us to share with others what you have done for us. In Jesus’ name. Amen
How does John’s heavenly vision provide a peace and hope for a follower of Christ?
How can this heavenly hope fuel your current toiling on earth?
Today's benediction is from the New Revised Standard Version.
Next week's lesson is on Revelation 22:1-7.
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We are a small, rural Presbyterian church in southwestern Pennsylvania.