Jesus is the speaker of these verses, in which He gives an amazing invitation coupled with an ominous warning. It begins with “Look, I am coming soon” which is the second time He has said this in chapter 22 (see verse 6), only this time, He continues saying, “and I will give to each person according to what they have done.” He is coming for the Final Judgment and the consummation of the Church, not for any further warnings. In verse 13, Jesus identifies Himself as God, the position of Authority from which He is speaking.
Verses 14-15 begin with an interesting comment: “Blessed are those who wash their robes” is a reference to something we saw earlier in the book, the white robes of the redeemed. By saying “washed” their robes, He is referring to those whose robes have been washed by grace through the shedding of His blood. Those who remain in their sin at His return will not be particularly blessed by God’s judgment.
Again in verse 16, He confirms just exactly who He is, using Old Testament images we have already discussed, and then verse 17:
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.
“The Spirit and the Bride” is a reference to the Church, for we know that the Church is portrayed in this section (20-22) as His Bride, and the Church is indwelt by the Spirit who speaks in and through the Church, thus, when the Spirit and the Bride say “Come,” Jesus is also making reference to the Gospel, for the spread of the Gospel is God’s Commission to the Church. He, who has an ear, is the believer who hears this prophecy, and again “Come” refers to the Gospel. The one “far off” who is thirsty refers to those who still need to respond to the Gospel.
Verses 18-19 comprise a stern warning to anyone who adds to or subtracts from this message: Woe!
Jesus concludes His remarks in verse 20:
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
There you have it from His mouth: He is coming soon! John finishes with words that need no explanation from me in 20b-21:
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.