August 15, 2021
THE PERSON OF JESUS CHRIST
Let’s begin today in Revelation 1:7-8 where John is telling us that one day Jesus will be “coming in the clouds and every eye will see Him.” That will be quite a feat, for everyone on earth to see Him since we are on a round globe. How will that happen? This is one of the first questions that arises in The Revelation that might not be answered until it is seen. But, if anyone can do it, Jesus can.
We know it is Jesus talking because He introduces Himself: “I am the Alpha and the Omega, Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come, the Almighty.” (1:8) Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Sometimes we hear people and even the Word of God speak of The Almighty. When I hear, God referred to as The Almighty, I first think of God the Father. I guess you just grow up thinking in certain ways about God. But here, Jesus introduces Himself as The Almighty, that’s interesting to me. It’s always been there, yet we seem to think in different directions, as to the Person of God.
Revelation 1:9-10 is another place where John identifies himself by name and gives the location of his writing of this Book. I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet…
It occurs on the Lord’s Day, which by then had been established to be on Sunday. (Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 16:2) In an instant, John was in the Spirit, worshiping, I would think, and he heard something behind him. He heard a loud voice, “like a trumpet” behind him. In this case the “trumpet” would be the sound of a war trumpet, very strong and clear. This may well be the “Trumpet” spoken of in 1 Thessalonians 4:16: For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
Could Jesus’ voice actually be the Trumpet call everyone is waiting for? Could Gabriel the Archangel just be calling everyone to attention to hear Jesus? The Voice gave John instructions to start writing. As he received these instructions he turned around to see from where or Who the Voice was coming.
I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
When he turned around he saw someone like a son of man. Earlier he used the phrase like a trumpet. We need to get used to John using the term like. There will be time after time when John uses that word, and many of those times are occasions when I believe John does not quiet have the vocabulary to tell us exactly what he is seeing. God could have given him the exact vocabulary, couldn’t He? But sometimes God wants us to reach further than we and John might understand. He is looking for our Faith to surface, and in The Revelation, our Faith is required, more often than not.
Beginning here, John will write a great deal about what he sees using symbolism requiring a good bit of insight and / or interpretation. You should not always depend on the preacher to do that translating or interpreting for you. I know it is hard for you to hear, and you might not even believe it, but your preacher can make mistakes. And besides, you have the same Holy Spirit within you that I have. The Holy Spirit is where I ultimately go for insight, and you should invite Him to help you, also.
In Revelation 1:12-16 Jesus is standing among some Lampstands. These Lampstands represent the Churches of the earth. Each earthly Church has a Lampstand representing its presence before the Throne, and yes, BUMC has one.
John begins to give us a description of the person like a son of man he sees: dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet – this long robe is the robe of a High Priest – Christ is our High Priest (Hebrews 4:15-16)
- with a golden sash around his chest – the sash is around the chest to show strength and judgment. If the sash were around His waist it would signify service. Here Jesus appears as our High Priest, displaying power, strength, and judgment.
- His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow – this speaks Christ’s eternal existence. One title that comes from this is “The Ancient of Days.” The Prophet Daniel also saw God in this way. (Daniel 7:9).
- His eyes were like blazing fire – refers to His unique insight and knowledge of all the actions of His Church, us.
- His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace – signifying judgment and His right as the Judge.
His voice was like the sound of rushing waters – the voice of authority; the voice that called the universe into existence. The voice that will call His own from the grave. The voice that will take His own out of the world to be with Him. The voice that will end pain, suffering and evil with a word.
- In His right hand he held seven stars – Seven Stars represents the presence of the Holy Spirit in Him. He also holds the Churches, He not only holds the Churches in His hand, but He also controls the universe.
- out of His mouth came a sharp double-edged sword – The Word of Jesus that pierces all. The Word that spoke all into existence. The Word that will end all evil and suffering. It is a double-edged sword because He can soothe and comfort His people, at the same time He judges and punishes evil. For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
- His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance – with the brilliance of the sun John could not even look upon the face of Jesus, a light so bright, it is brighter than the sun. Will we be able to look upon the face of the One who created the sun? If you will recall, Moses was only in the presence of God (Exodus 34:29-30) and his face was so radiant from the experience that it frightened the people with him.
In 1:17 I think John’s response to seeing Jesus is and should be something like our response should be. I think it would be paralyzing to find yourself in the very presence of Jesus. John fell at His feet as though dead. But Jesus responded with love and kindness, as you would expect Him to do toward one of His children.
Jesus laid His hand on John and spoke to him about who He is. (1:17a-18) And Jesus gives John, and us, four reasons to “not be afraid:”
- “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.” – Speaks to Jesus’ deity and speaks of His constant presence as our protector and shield.
- “I am the Living One” – He is speaking of His redemptive death and His Resurrection that freed us
- “I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever” – His present state of Life that will never change
- “And I hold the keys of death and Hades” – He has authority and power over everything, even those things we fear
Bostwick UMC 8/15/21