This post was originally published as a Sunday School Lesson post for the Biblical Recorder here.
Seeing is _____________. A picture is worth a __________________ ________. I imagine you had little difficulty finishing those sentences with “believing” and “thousand words,” respectively. Pictures and visions reveal glorious truths. The book of Revelation is a book of visions. John witnessed vision after glorious vision intended to encourage and challenge. John himself received the book of Revelation during a time of intense persecution as he was imprisoned on the isle of Patmos. His fellow believers, many of those in the churches to whom he wrote, were experiencing persecution and suffering in turmoil. Enter Jesus. Now John knew Jesus as well as anyone. He was one of Jesus’ closest followers, if not his most intimate. But if you notice in this text, when John saw Jesus in all of his unfettered glory, he fell at his feet as though dead. John’s vision of Jesus in Revelation 1:12-20 is not the carpenter’s son dressed in the humble vestiges of a traveling preacher. Rather, John’s vision of Jesus is victorious and full of glory. Jesus is in the midst of the lampstands—his churches. Jesus’ clothing reveals his role as High Priest—the one who intercedes for his churches. His flaming eyes and feet of bronze display his holy judgment. His voice like the roar of many waters reminds us of his revelation to his churches. He holds the stars in his hands indicating his control of his churches. Out of his mouth comes a sharp, two-edged sword. This same picture returns later in Revelation when Jesus returns victorious on the white horse defeating his enemies. Jesus protects his churches as he shines gloriously through them. Astonishing as the vision of the unveiled, victorious Christ is, his word to John may be even more marvelous. “Fear not. I am the living One. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore. I have the keys of Death and Hell.” Jesus is saying, “John, I am victorious and my resurrection gives you the right to join me in my victory.” So, in your situations and concerns, take courage, don’t be afraid, have hope, Jesus is our Victor.