Don’t be afraid!
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one who died. Look, I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.“ – Vs 17-18 NLT
Well, this is it. The last book of the New Testament – the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. And it’s going to be a wild ride. This book is full of fantastic visions, difficult-to-understand imagery, and prophetic pronouncements that may seem to have little application for daily life, but it was actually written to encourage the churches that existed during the day when John penned the book under the Holy Spirit’s influence. So in the midst of all the unbelievable imagery, there is a message that we must look for and listen to. John says, “God blesses the one who reads this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to it and obey what it says. For the time is near when these things will happen” (Vs 3 NLT). There is a blessing in store for those who hear and obey the words of the Revelation. So it seems that it would make sense for us to listen carefully and obey fully.
John starts out this book with a clear indication of its author – Jesus Christ. These are the words of Christ for His church. He appears to John in a vision on the island of Patmos where John has been exiled for his preaching of the gospel. John describes Jesus, “‘like a son of man,’ dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash round 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” (Vs 13-16 NIV). Wow! What a sight. And John’s immediate reaction was to fall down as if dead.
But Jesus reaches down and touches John, saying, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one who died. Look, I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave” (Vs 17-18 NLT). Jesus assures John of who He is. He is the eternal one who came and died on behalf of men. He is the one who was resurrected and lives forevermore – having conquered death and the grave. Jesus tells John not to fear. He assures John that He is the same Jesus he came to know when He walked with John along the shores of the Sea of Galilee. Yes, He looks a little different than John remembers. He appears in this vision clothed in glory, emanating power, and exuding strength. He is the same Jesus, but this time He appears in all His eternal majesty, glory, and divine power. The book of the Revelation is a book of hope and joy. It is a picture into the future. It is a glimpse into the unseen. But it is also a reminder to those of us who make up the church of Jesus Christ today that He is not done. This story is not over yet. He is ALIVE. He is in complete control and one day He is going to return and set all things right. But before all that happens, He has a few things He wants to say to us. He tells John to write down what He has to say the the seven churches – which represent His global church. So as we read this book, let us listen carefully and obey completely. If we do, we are assured a blessing.
Father, make this book come alive to me more than ever before. Open my ears to hear what You have to say to me and to all of us who make up the church today. Your Son has a message for us. And because of who He is, we should listen. Don’t let me get bogged down in all the imagery and lose the message. May Your Holy Spirit assist me in understanding what it is You have to say through this book. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men