Revelation 1:4-8: All about Jesus.
“4 John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father – to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.7 ‘Look, he is coming with the clouds,’ and ‘every eye will see him,even those who pierced him’; and all peoples on earth ‘will mourn because of him.’So shall it be! Amen,8 ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’ NIV
Yesterday we saw that the church has a Trinitarian experience of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. But it is also a Christ-centred experience. A number of important things are said about Jesus:
- He is the ‘’faithful witness’’ (5): the Greek word for ‘’witness’’ sounds like the English word for ‘martyr’. It carries with it the idea of the very real possibility of suffering, and even dying, as we follow the One who laid down His life for the truth;
- He is ‘’the first-born from the dead’’ (5): Yes Jesus died, but He also rose from death, and all who die trusting in Him will rise too. But He came out of the grave ‘first’;
- He is ‘’the ruler of the kings of the earth’’ (5): He is the ‘’King of kings’’ (17:14; see Phil.2:9-11). The church was in deep trouble with the authorities, and needed to take heart that there is a higher authority;
- He ‘’loves us’’ (6): Lovely thought!
- He ‘’blood-washed our sins from our lives’’ (5b, The Message): Jesus’ sacrificial death has dealt with man’s greatest problem. All who trust in Him are ‘’freed’’ (‘’loosed’’) from their sins;
- He has work/service for us to do. We are saved to serve: ‘’and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father’’ (6a);
- He is deserving of eternal worship: ‘’to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen’’ (6b);
- He is coming back to this world: ‘’Riding the clouds, he’ll be seen by every eye, those who mocked and killed him will see him, People from all nations and all times will tear their clothes in lament. Oh, Yes’’ (7).
At this time, the fastest growing religion in the Roman Empire was Emperor worship. In city after city, there were magnificent temples devoted to the Emperor. Christians had no buildings and met in homes. Many of these were probably simple, poor homes. It looked like the power and influence lay with Rome. But when we see Jesus as He is, we get a different perspective. We see He’s in charge, in spite of appearances.
The last verse is a reiteration of verse 4, with the added words: ‘’I am the Alpha and the Omega’’. These are the first and last words in the Greek alphabet. So God is the beginning and end of everything, but He Himself has no beginning or end. He always was and always will be.
PRAYER: Thank you Lord for all you are. Please help me to turn my eyes upon Jesus and keep them fixed on Him.