Revelation 1:17-20: Rounding the Cape.

“17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.19 ‘Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. 20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: the seven stars are the angels[a] of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.” NIV

In Michael Green’s excellent book, ‘Man Alive’, he tells the story how many years ago people in European capitals believed there was a trade route to be found, to India, around the southern tip of South Africa. But so many sailors were shipwrecked in the attempt to discover it that it became known as ‘the Cape of storms’. Eventually, though, one more intrepid mariner, Vasco Da Gama, successfully rounded the Cape, found the trade route, and came back to show others it could be done.

Green says, before Jesus came, death was like the ‘Cape of storms’, littered with many a wreck. But Jesus has successfully ‘rounded the Cape’. He has come back to say, ‘There is a way through, and I can take you.’

That’s the picture of Jesus we have here: He died, but He didn’t stay dead. He is in the place of authority over death. This doesn’t mean we won’t die. But death won’t have the final word with the believer anymore than it did with the Christ. He holds the keys. We will triumph in Him and through Him.

Another writer put the same point in a slightly different way. He said, ‘It’s like you’re in a dungeon, and someone comes up and whispers in your ear that he knows the way out and he can show you.’

Oh yes, Jesus holds the keys.

PRAYER: Thank you, risen Lord Jesus, that you take the fear out of death for all who trust in you. You say, ‘Fear not’ and you can help us to fear nothing.