THE GLORY OF CHRIST
Lord Jesus Christ, you reign supreme over life and death, frustration and pain, loss and loneliness. I praise you.
Read REVELATION 1:9–20
John’s Vision of Christ
9 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. 10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 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.”
12 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,[a] dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hair on his head was 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 coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
17 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. 18 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.
19 “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. 20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels[b] of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
May we see the glory of the crucified and risen Jesus, that we may join John in worship, trust, and glad service.
The revelation of the glory of the risen Christ comes when John is in a situation of isolation, loneliness, and suffering. The Roman authorities were suspicious of people who claimed prophetic gifts, fearing they might challenge the claims of the Pax Romana and refuse to venerate the emperors. They must have viewed the ‘word of God and the testimony of Jesus’ (v 9) as subversive, because this teaching resulted in John’s banishment and confinement. Yet there is no trace of regret or remorse in his language; on the contrary, he seems to assume that this is part of the normal Christian life. On this barren, isolated island, the veil between heaven and earth is drawn back to reveal the glory of the exalted Jesus Christ.
At the time of the visions of Revelation, the worship of the Caesars was spreading in the cities of the Eastern Empire, including those in which the Christian communities to which John writes were located. While the Emperor Domitian dominated the political realm of ‘eternal Rome’, John is concerned with another kingdom, whose Lord had conquered both death and hell. Before this glorious Christ, he falls down in wonder, love, and praise.
The claim of Christ in verse 18 indicates that he has not only overcome death but has authority in Hades – the world of the dead. This is a crucial aspect of the good news for millions of non-Western Christians for whom the realm of the spirits is both real and challenging. All of us need their testimonies if we are, together with them, to grasp the full riches of the salvation to which this book bears witness.
Consider John’s statement that ‘suffering and kingdom and patient endurance … are ours in Jesus’ (v 9, italics added). Can we claim the kingdom without suffering and endurance?
Sovereign Lord, amidst all the overwhelming things going on in my life and around me, I rejoice that Jesus is Lord. I am your child, and my life is in your hands.
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