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Immerse: Messiah, Week 16

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

“Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.” – Revelation 1:4b-5

I was playing a game of Monopoly with my 11-year old son the other day and it came time to count up all our assets to see who had the most money (we play by a time limit, praise God!).  We counted up all the values of our properties (he had Park Place and Boardwalk) and all of our cash, too.  After the final tally, the numbers revealed Joel was the winner to which he proudly exclaimed, “Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!”  I’m not even sure where he has heard that phrase before – likely me – but it was the perfect moment to make such a declaration – victory was his; he had won the game!

I did a little digging into the background of what the origin of this celebratory phrase was.  Come to find out, there are several variations, but the most popular origin story of the term is that a chicken dinner at a Las Vegas casino used to cost $2, the same amount as a standard bet. So, if you won a bet, you won a chicken dinner.

This week, we are venturing, wading, and even meandering through the mesmerizing yet at the same time confusing text of the book of Revelation.  This book has been studied for hundreds of years. The interpretations about the different symbolic and prophetic items are likely in the thousands – and most of those have been completely wrong! If you want a good time, do some research and try to uncover some views of the book of Revelation from those who were teaching and leading in the 1800s.

Revelation can be intimidating. It’s in the Bible, so it obviously has a place to be studied, but we must remember to keep in mind the context of the first audience to hear it – late 1st century/early 2nd century.  There is a message there for all of us, and I think the overall message of Revelation is one of hope, encouragement and faith. I think Revelation reveals just enough about the future with just enough clarity to let us know two things: Jesus is faithful no matter what and in the end, we win! From the opening lines of this letter, we see the triune God described with faithfulness and victory, and the rest of the book conveys that encouraging message and hope only found in the secure victory achieved by Jesus.

Or maybe a better way to say it would be to conclude Revelation 21 with this paraphrase, “Winner, winner, chicken dinner!”

- Pete Ramsey