Stunned is just one word that describes the response of the crowd at the 2019 graduation ceremony at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. The commencement speaker announced that he and his family would be donating millions of dollars to erase the student debt of the entire graduating class. One student—with $100,000 in loans—was among the overwhelmed graduates who expressed their joys with tears and shouts.
Most of us have experienced indebtedness in some form—having to pay for homes, vehicles, education, medical expenses, or other things. But we’ve also known the amazing relief of a bill being stamped “PAID”!
After declaring Jesus as “the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth,” John worshipfully acknowledged His debt-erasing work: “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood” (Revelation 1:5). This statement is simple but its meaning is profound. Better than the surprise announcement the Morehouse graduating class heard is the good news that the death of Jesus (the shedding of His blood on the cross) frees us from the penalty that our sinful attitudes, desires, and deeds deserve. Because that debt has been satisfied, those who believe in Jesus are forgiven and become a part of God’s kingdom family (v. 6). This good news is the best news of all!
Jesus, thank You for Your death that erased my debt; I’m eternally grateful!
John’s description of a pierced Son “coming with the clouds” (Revelation 1:7) combines two ancient prophecies to exalt the resurrected Christ as the God “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (v. 8). The first echoes the prophet Daniel who foresaw that in the last days a humanlike Son would return in the clouds and be given everlasting rule of all people and nations (Daniel 7:13–14). The second prophecy is found in the words of the prophet Zechariah who envisioned a day when the people of Jerusalem would look on “the one they have pierced, and . . . grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son” (Zechariah 12:10). John expands Zechariah’s vision beyond Israel saying that when the pierced Son is revealed in clouds of glory “all peoples on earth ‘will mourn because of him’ ” (Revelation 1:7).