The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants – things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. – Revelation 1:1-3
If you were to visit Anna’s and my home, you would find a display of five framed letters from well-known people. We have intentionally placed them in an inconspicuous location, not wanting to appear to be name-dropping. Three are from presidents and two from people known throughout the world. We especially treasure these letters because they were written personally to us and contain precious and affirming words from people we respect.
Yet far more treasured is a personal letter written from Jesus to His Church. This letter is the Revelation of Jesus Christ that God gave to His servants-to you and me. John is the “stenographer” taking the letter, as well as the “mailman” who delivers it. And what could be more treasured than a personal letter from Jesus? Especially when we are confronted by things that undermine our confidence or shatter the stability of our circumstances-things that happen to every one of us…maybe even something you face right now.
What is often overlooked in studying the Book of Revelation are the personal implications that it has for our lives. It is not a revelation of information or prophecies, but a revelation of Jesus that shows us His character and Person. And it is also a very, very personal letter. Because of its prophetic nature, the Book of Revelation often becomes an object of sensation or speculation. But I have no doubt that was not Jesus’ intent. More likely, He wants to tell us things that will make our lives work in the middle of every kind of challenge, and He wants us to see the victory.
The reason Jesus reveals Himself is to help us keep things in perspective “for the time is near” (1:3). Although these words were written centuries ago, and generations who believed Jesus was coming soon have passed on, the Lord wants us to gain a heavenly perspective. When that grips our heart, we are no longer stampeded by the limits and distresses that so define our physical world’s time-space continuum.
Jesus tells us, Whatever the struggle, it is brief in comparison to what your life is ultimately about. He is not indifferent to our problems, but He wants us to know that He is present and able to manage whatever we are facing-that our lives are not only about this moment. Jesus wants us to know He is here in our interest, He’s committed to seeing us through, and He gives us an incentive: “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear…” He tells us that if we want a regular blessing, we are to read this book, and it will put everything into perspective.
Moreover, Jesus’ signature on it means that He is personally endorsing everything He says here. Death can’t keep Him down, and when you or I come to the end, nothing of the death syndrome can keep us down either. He gives us the promise of dominion as long as we walk in worship with Him: we are made “kings and priests” to God (1:6).
You may have never read the book of Revelation with this kind of understanding, but I’m certain that you, like me, welcome the encouragement, perspective, and personal touch that Jesus expresses in it. So I invite you to open your Bible to chapter one and look with me at six things in this letter that Jesus reveals about His character to us.
1. You can never be in so forsaken a place that My love won’t seek and find you (v. 9-10).
John was writing from Patmos, a Roman penal colony in the middle of nowhere. You may feel you’re in a place called confusion or despair, or that you’re isolated on an island called rejection. But the Lord says, and John is reporting, Jesus came to me to reveal Himself where I was – in the middle of my dilemma, in the middle of nowhere.
2. You can never be in so bound a state that My Spirit can’t lift your soul with hope (v. 10).
John refers to being “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.” The “Lord’s Day” can mean the first day of the week, or the day of God’s judgment and visitation-the day God comes to change things. When you think you’re at the end, you can either say, “These are the limits,” or you can transcend those limits by coming to worship in the Spirit. John is saying what Jesus wants us to see: Got a problem? Get in the Spirit!
3. Your history can’t be written until I, Jesus, have the last word (v. 11).
However we might want to write about things as they are, Jesus is the Creator and Consummator of all things, as well as the Redeemer of everything in between. He tells us that the story isn’t over yet; He’s going to write the end His way, no matter the circumstances, and we who live in Him will not be the losers.
4. You may think you know Me well, but you haven’t seen anything yet (v. 12-16).
No one knew Jesus better than John did. He was the disciple who was with Jesus throughout His earthly ministry and who was there on the last occasion that He was seen on Earth. Now John describes seeing the splendor of the reigning Christ at the right hand of the throne of all power, and he is overcome with His majesty.
Dear one, when you and I face times that seem like the end, the Lord would say to us: Lift up your head a little bit higher because I’m greater than you think, more powerful than you can imagine, and closer than you know.
5. There is nothing you face that is unanticipated by My plan or unsurpassed by My power (v.15).
John describes Jesus’ feet “like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace.” In Scripture, brass denotes strength. The feet of Jesus, once wounded, have become feet of dominion. The lesson to us: Walk in the trail of He who has gone through the fire, and with Him, you will discover what He found.
At the Cross, Jesus faced His greatest sense of aloneness (“My God, why have You forsaken Me?”). Those words were followed the next moment by His greatest abandonment to trust and rest in the Father (“Into Your hands I commit My Spirit”). It was the Father’s plan and power that brought Him through. Now He says, That’s how My feet got this way. I want you to walk with Me – to abandon yourself and trust Father God like I did, and you too will find a pathway of dominion.
6. Just when Jesus seems to be out of reach, He says to us, “I have you and your circumstance firmly in hand.” (v. 16,17,20).
Describing his dramatic encounter with the Lord, John tells us that in Jesus’ right hand are stars. These stars are people in whom the radiance of the Kingdom of God is invested; it is a radiance intended to light the darkness of the world. And with that same right hand, He reaches to John. No matter how far away He may seem at the moment, God’s Word says that each of us – not just a select few – is in His hand.
The Revelation of Jesus reassures us of the promise of His presence and the certainty of His victory, whether we are at the end of time or the end of our rope. In this very personal letter, He tells us:
I’m here with you, no matter how remote or out of touch it seems. I am walking with you through the fire into the pathway of dominion, and My hand is on you that you might be a light to the world. Whatever you think I may have been like in times past, you haven’t seen anything yet. Trust Me, loved one. I’ve promised to be with you always, even to the end.
Copyright 2011 by Jack W. Hayford, Jack Hayford Ministries
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