Jesus promised, "I am coming soon," and added "I'm going to repay everyone according to their work" (12). Christians of his time needed reassurance during their suffering and encouragement during their temptations.
Well, so do we.
We look around and see people being greedy, selfish, uncaring, and could even find some comfort in the notion that they will be paid back some day. At least, we do as long as we can avoid looking in mirrors.
Instead of being glad or afraid of the promise of retribution, it would be better for us to live already in the way Christ has shown us.
Let us hang on to the assurance that anyone who wishes may take the water of life as a gift (17).
Bible readers continue to argue between merit (12) or free gift (17).
How we settle that argument may well determine whether we are looking forward with trepidation or joy to the promise, "Surely I am coming soon."