Today we read some more from John’s vision in chapter 7 of Revelation, and we learn more about the identity of those gathered around the throne. In short, they are martyrs, those who died for the faith.
Revelation 7:9-10, 13-17
9 After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.
10 And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”
13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?”
14 I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 Therefore, “they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
16 ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,’ nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’‘ And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’ ”
What is the heavenly reward for the martyrs?
Why might the living followers of Jesus need to hear about what happens to those who have died for their faith?
The word martyr literally means “witness.” In what was is a person who dies for the sake of their faith a witness? How are you a witness to the gospel of Jesus?
Merciful God, we thank you for the lives and the witness of the martyrs, the men and women, and children who died for their faith in Christ. We celebrate that you take care of them and that when we are lacking in earthly rewards, we can be confident that you have rewards for us in heaven. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.