Revelation 1: 1-3
The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw – that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.
Philippians 2: 5-11
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death –
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Verse 1 of this book says: “The revelation of Jesus Christ...”
These first 5 words are so so important in understanding this entire book. Revelation is not primarily a book about the end of the world, the future, predictions and prophecies. Revelation is first and foremost a book about Jesus Christ. It is the Revelation of Jesus Christ. That means the revelation came from Jesus and the revelation was about Jesus.
This book is all about Jesus.
Revelation simply means ‘to reveal’ or ‘to unveil’. Have you ever been at a play or a concert and before it starts the curtains across the stage are pulled. And then suddenly the music starts, the curtains are drawn back, and you see everything and your first reaction is, "Wow, that’s amazing!"
That’s what the Book of Revelation was written to do. It was written to reveal and to unveil to the church what Jesus Christ is like and what is going on behind the curtain of heaven and of human history.
John, if he was to endure persecution, if he was to make sense of his suffering and pain, if he was to stay faithful to the end, needed a fresh vision of Jesus Christ, he needed to see Jesus as He really is.
You see when Jesus came to earth 2000 years ago, his glory was veiled. Isn’t that what we sing in the song, 'The Servant King.'
From heaven you came helpless babe, Entered our world, your glory veiled.
Jesus was God who became man, but we’re told in Philippians 2 that when he came to earth he chose to veil, to cover his full divinity, to hide his God-ness if you like.
He looked just like an ordinary Galilean carpenter and rabbi. He submitted himself to pain and suffering and death on the cross so that we could be saved.
But death couldn’t hold him. The grave couldn’t contain him. And he rose from the dead and ascended back into heaven where he rules and reigns over all of human history in all his glory and majesty and power.
One theologian tells a story of a Prince who one day is riding through his fields and sees a peasant girl gathering the crops. She is beautiful and the Prince falls instantly in love with her. What can he do? He could issue a royal decree and make her become his wife, but he would never know if she really truly loved him. He could impress her with his power and wealth but he doesn’t want her to love him just because of his money. So he takes of his royal purple robe and dresses in peasant clothes and goes to work side by side with her, never telling her who he really is. Over time she falls in love with him and the two of them marry. It’s only on their wedding day that the king puts on his royal robe and reveals himself as he really is, in all his power and wealth and glory.
That’s a helpful picture of what Jesus has done for us. In his first coming he kept his glory veiled, we saw him as an ordinary man in weakness and humility and submission. But one day, at the bible calls marriage supper of the Lamb, we will see him as he really is in all his majesty and power and glory.
And so when John sees Jesus here in Revelation, it is as if the curtain is pulled back so that he and us can see Jesus as he really is.
And I would say to you that there is no greater need today in the Christian Church, and in our personal lives, than for us to have a fresh vision, a revelation, of who Jesus Christ really is.
Why? Because the vision we have of Jesus, what we think about when we think about Jesus, will have a greater impact on our lives and our lifestyle and our worship and our sickness and our suffering and our relationships and our evangelism than anything else.
What a person thinks about Jesus will have a huge impact on every part of their lives.
Most people today within and without the church have such an inadequate and unbiblical vision of Jesus. In most pictures of Jesus you see in bibles or paintings, He looks so wishy washy and bland. He’s got long blonde hair, like the 5th member of ABBA, kind of a Swedish looking hippy, with blues eyes, and He’s hugging a little lamb. He’s maybe got a bit of a Ready Brek glow around him, but he looks like an effeminate wimp who really, you wouldn’t be too inclined to worship or obey.
I hear people say all sorts of things to me about Jesus, most of which start with something like: "I like to think of Jesus as....", and they’ll say something like: 'A good teacher' or 'An all loving, all accepting, kind man who never got angry or upset or offended anyone.'
It’s almost as if they imagine that He floated or skipped through life, but sadly he was misunderstood and he ended up dying on the cross.
As Christians, we sometimes say that we know and love Jesus, and therefore it doesn’t really matter what we think of him, as long as we love him.
That’s like me saying: "Becky my wife has jet black hair and is 6 feet tall."
If you'd ever seen her you'd contradict me and say, "But Becky’s got blonde hair and she’s only 5’ 4” tall."
And I’d perhaps reply: "Well, I love her, so it doesn’t really matter what i think she’s like, as long as I love her."
You’d have every right to say to me: "You can’t love her, because you don’t even know her. And if you don’t know what she’s like, how can you love her?"
Our view of Jesus is so weak, so anaemic, so inadequate, so bland, so pitiful, so unbiblical and so false.
And that’s why often our lives are so passionless, our obedience half hearted, our worship dull, our motivation to witness to others lacking, our fear of what people think of us is greater than our fear of what God thinks of us, and in suffering and pain and problems we don’t know what to do or where to turn. We’re act as if we have no more hope than the pagan who lives next door.
How we all need a fresh vision of Jesus, a fresh revelation of who He really is, of what He’s really like, of His power and majesty and glory and might and authority and holiness and awesomeness. God, please help us to see Jesus today!