February 25

John’s Vision of the Exalted Christ

Bible Reading: Revelation 1:9-18

Somewhere amidst all my paraphernalia boxed up from my office at the church in Astoria, is an old cassette tape.  As a relatively new believer in Christ, I treasured that tape and listened to it many times.  It was of my uncle, Pastor Bob Emrich, preaching at the installation service for his brother, Pastor Frank Emrich, some 40 years ago, at Valley Bible Church in Sumner, Washington.  The Scripture text for the message was Revelation 1:10.  The heart of the message was the need for us to be attentive by the Spirit to hear the voice of Jesus speaking to us through His word!  So we’ve read in today’s text…Jesus spoke to the Apostle John and revealed Himself to John in all His glory.  Jesus had a message for John and John listened attentively and wrote down what Jesus said.

Revelation was written around AD 94-96, near the end of the Emperor Domitian’s reign.  John is an elderly man, the last surviving Apostle.  He was, as he self-identified himself to be, “the Apostle whom Jesus loved.”  He wrote in his gospel account of how he and his fellow apostles beheld the glory of Jesus–in the miracles that Jesus did and in the person He is.  John had witnessed Jesus’ transfiguration.  He was witness to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.  In fact, as Jesus hung dying upon the cross, He placed the care of his Mother into John’s hands. John was present on the day of Pentecost when the church was born and later witnessed the growth and expansion of the church.  For all these decades John faithfully served Jesus, leading and teaching and writing his epistles.  At this point in his life he’s witnessed the destruction of Jerusalem and has likely heard of the martyrdom of his fellow Apostles.  He alone is left.  He’s on the island of Patmos “on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” (Revelation 1:9).  Both Jews and Christians were severely persecuted during the end of Domitian’s reign, and John was no exception.

Now John is old.  His fellow apostles are gone.  Jerusalem was long ago destroyed.  An evil emperor and Christian-hater reigns over the land.  It was a needy world, as it is to this day.  It’s in this context Jesus’ revealed Himself to John.  Which is, by way, the meaning of the term “revelation” (and it is singular “revelation,” not plural “revelations”).  The book of Revelation has to do with the ‘unveiling’ of the Lord Jesus Christ in His majestic glory!  What exactly did John see?  He saw Jesus, not as the humble servant Savior, but as the Coming King and Judge, with flaming eyes and feet of brass, who has come to execute judgment, destroy evil and establish His kingdom.  He saw Jesus standing in the midst of His church, intimately aware and actively involved in all their doings.  He saw Jesus, the “ruler of the kings of the earth” (Revelation 1:5), who will ultimately one day bring all things into submission to Him.  He saw Jesus, the One holding the “keys of Death and Hades” (Revelation 1:18).  The risen Lord and Savior Jesus, unveiled Himself to John in order to unveil to us the truths related to His glorious return. No matter how evil or troubled things become, Jesus is coming soon and He will reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords forevermore.  In the meantime, it’s good to be attentive to His voice, as He speaks to us through His Word.  “And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19).

Lord Jesus, how thankful we are, that no matter how dark things get here in this world, we know You are coming again in all Your glory to establish Your Kingdom for eternity.  Even now You stand in the midst of Your church, preparing us for Your return.  You work all things together to accomplish Your purposes in Your timing.  Nothing will prevent that from happening.  We praise You now as our glorious Lord and Savior and pray that You will grant us ears to pay attention, and tender hearts to respond to what You say to us in Your holy word!

AT THE NAME OF JESUS

At the name of Jesus
ev’ry knee shall bow,
ev’ry tongue confess him
King of glory now;
’tis the Father’s pleasure
we should call him Lord,
who from the beginning
was the mighty Word.

Christians, this Lord Jesus
shall return again
in his Father’s glory,
with his angel train;
for all wreaths of empire
meet upon his brow,
and our hearts confess him
King of glory now.

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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