Revelation 1.9-20 – How He is

In Revelation 1.12-20 we read the only physical description of Jesus as He is now. We would – without really trying to – think of Jesus as He was…not as He is.

If I asked you to picture Jesus now, you would (most likely) picture a tall, kind-faced, bearded man with long hair by modern standards, and most likely to this image you would apply your own skin colour and/or tone. If you are really a clever boffin you would picture a Middle Eastern looking man, on account of Jesus’ geographical location during His incarnation, but, really, that’s how He looked then, not how He looks now!

I know, I know, you’ll say, well, the Bible teaches that the resurrection bodies we receive aren’t actually new, they are what we have (better start taking care of the skin you’re in, no?), because when Jesus rose He had scars and gaping holes in His hands…and you’re right, but, lets look how He is…

9 I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet 11 saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”

12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.

17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. 19 Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. 20 As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

Some fascinating things in this passage, but we want to focus on the main thing, don’t we, we want to keep the main thing as the main thing…

So,

Jesus is wise (The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow.),

pure (clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest),

has impeccable judgement and can see the heart of men (His eyes were like a flame of fire),

is stable and permanent (his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace),

has a powerful, commanding, attention-grabbing voice (his voice was like the roar of many waters),

He holds the church in His hands (As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.),

His Word is heavy, powerful (from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword), *this is a different word from Hebrews 4.12. Here we read of a powerful, all-conquering sword, in Hebrews we read of a surgeon’s scalpel, precise and piercing.

and He radiates glory (his face was like the sun shining in full strength.)

Some people get hung up on the sacrificial saviour problem; how can I put my trust in a man who died, whose followers don’t even deny that died, whose followers actually proclaim His death as a good thing?

Well, when we read of the qualities, power, and characteristics that that broken, suffering, and loving human body belied, we can trust Him for the future with a new enthusiasm, love Him with a new vigour, and join Him in His mission to save the lost with more fervency.

We can do this because we know how He was, we know what He did, and, we know what He is like right now.

 

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