“Go, take the scroll that lies open in the hand of the angel. . . .” He said to me, “Take it and eat it. . . .”
Here we see a gigantic angel who can straddle both the land and sea. He comes with a message: “No more delay!” And he has “a little scroll” that is “open in his hand.” What do these pictures mean?
Some thoughtful scholars of the Bible can help us here. First, it’s important to know that the Greek word for “angel” (angelos) in the original text also means “messenger.” God’s mighty angels can do many things, but one of their main jobs is to be God’s messengers to us. They come with important announcements, and these are often about the “good news” (euangelion) of God’s salvation for us. This good news is also called the “gospel” (from an old English word meaning “good news”).
This helps us understand what “the little scroll” is that lies open in the angel’s hand. It is the gospel, the good-news message that is open for all to see and hear and live by. John, the narrator, is invited to take this message and preach it to the nations, without delay. It may seem like a small message. But like the mighty angel, it is sent with the power of God, so it can go anywhere, crossing the land and sea to the ends of the earth.
John is also told to “take it and eat it.” Why? God’s good news is food for the soul, and it tastes sweet. Sadly, though, it can also bring a feeling of bitterness. The message is bittersweet because when it is shared, some people refuse to listen and believe (see Ezekiel 3:1-15).
Lord God, may your good news nourish us deep within our souls. And help us to share it, even though some refuse to believe. Amen.