Revelation 1: 9-18
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, which said: ‘Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.’
I turned round to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 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 round his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
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. Look at what John sees.
JESUS IS ETERNAL
“Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come...”
And verse 8:
"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."
Jesus didn’t come into existence 2000 years ago in Mary’s womb. Jesus is eternal, He has no beginning and no end, He has always been and always will be.
He is also:
Verses 5 and 6:
“To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.”
Jesus has loved us and freed us from sin and death and hell. How? By the shedding of his blood.
HE IS COMING BACK
"Look, he is coming with the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.”
When Jesus came to earth the first time he came silently, in humility, as a little baby, born in a little village in Israel. One day he will return, but this time it will be in glory and majesty and victory. And we will all stand before him as judge or saviour.
HE IS ALL POWERFUL
“...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. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 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.”
A robe signified kingship and wealth.
His golden sash. That didn’t mean he was an Orangeman. Priests and Kings in the Old Testament wore a sash to symbolise their power and authority. Jesus, as priest of all priest and king of all kings, wears a golden sash.
His head and hair were white like wool. This symbolises wisdom and purity.
“...his eyes were like blazing fire.”
Jesus when he looks at us, doesn’t just see what others see, he sees inside us, his eyes burn through all our pretence and external righteousness, and he sees our hearts.
“...out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword.”
In Ephesians we read that God’s word is the sword of the spirit and in Hebrews 4 it says that it is a double edged sword which living and active and judges the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts. God’s word has power. This book has power. And it stands over us, we don’t stand over it.
“His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.”
The glory, the shekinah glory of God shone from Jesus face.
Imagine being John, old, alone and exiled on this island because of his faith in Jesus. And then he sees this vision of Jesus in all his glory and power.
Do you think that would change how he sees his situation? How he feels about his suffering?
Or imagine being one of the people in the 7 churches to whom this was addressed who were facing persecution and beatings and death because they would only worship Jesus and not the emperor. Do you think reading this would have given them courage to stay strong, strength to endure, hope for whatever lies ahead?
That there is a name higher than that of the Emperor. That there is a throne greater than his throne. That even the Emperor will one day bow before Jesus.
Look at how John responds when he sees Jesus.
Verses 17: “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.”
Remember that John has been a Christian here for 60 years, he had known Jesus personally for 3 years when Jesus was on earth. And yet when he sees who Jesus really is, when he gets a fresh vision of Jesus, he falls on his face in awe and worship.
What about us? How do we respond?
We need to pray every day that God would help us to see Jesus afresh. That we would have a fresh, clearer vision of who He really is.
We need to immerse ourselves in His Word, where he reveals Jesus to us.
And as we see Jesus as he really is and focus on Him, that will have an impact on every part of our lives.
Instead of fearing man and what people think of us, we will have a holy reverential fear of Jesus.
When faced with choices and decisions where we are tempted to compromise or sin, we will want to obey the king of kings and Lord of Lords.
When in conversation about spiritual things with our friends and neighbours and work colleagues, we will want to tell them of the Christ who loved them and died for them and who they will one day have to stand before.
When going through sickness or suffering or pain, we will turn to and trust in the one whose name is above every name, every sickness, every disease, the one who is more powerful than death itself.
It will affect our worship. When we see Jesus as he really is, our worship will be more real, more passionate, our hearts will long to express out loud who Jesus is.