When John saw Him, all he could do was go facedown before Him. John, “on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus,” was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day when the Lord appeared to him. And to see Jesus was to worship Jesus. His appearing glorious. His presence majestic. His countenance shining like the sun. Behold the holiness of God manifest in the second Person of the Trinity. Cue the fear of God within this servant of God in exile.
Then, with the same hand that commands the mighty angels over the churches, Jesus makes contact with His facedown servant and says to him:
“Fear not, I am the First and the Last, and the Living One. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” ~ Jesus at Patmos
(Revelation 1:17b-18 ESV)
In a way, Jesus could have left it unsaid. For, if there was anything that John knew afresh at the moment, it was that Jesus was alive. That He was the Living One. That even though, many years ago, John had seen Him crucified, had witnessed the blood and water flowing from His side, had seen Him laid in the tomb, John had also seen Him when, on the third day, He rose again. Yes, Jesus had died. But behold He is alive forevermore.
Huge implications on death and hell. As in, defeated and powerless. But something I read in John’s gospel this morning also reminds me of the huge implications of a risen Christ for us regular Christians.
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you also will live.” ~ Jesus in the Upper Room
(John 14:18-19 ESV)
Because I live, you also will live.
Specifically, I think Jesus was talking to His disciples of His resurrection three days out. Jesus would come to them after He shed the bonds of death. Jesus would reconnect with them after having born the wrath they deserved to bear for their sin. Jesus would meet with them, eat with them, and ready them for a life empowered by His Spirit. But what was foretold of those days immediately following His death and resurrection would foreshadow a reality for all who believe for all time.
I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you. I am the Living One.
“Because I live, you also will live.”
Yesterday as a family we rejoiced and shed tears for all that we have to be thankful for. A day of being together primed the pump for recalling years of memories. We looked back and gave thanks and praise to a God of inexhaustible grace. We reflected on days of childhood and friends not seen for years and were reminded of a God who has never left us nor forsaken us. And, while looking back was wonderful, looking forward, quite frankly, is a bit scary. But Jesus says, “Fear not.”
Fear not, I am the Living One. And because I live you also will live.
What a great reminder on the morning after the day before. What a source of strength for whatever lies ahead even while all that’s been continues to linger.
We serve a risen Savior. He is the Living One. And as my friend Billy G. said so well, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.”
Amen & amen.
By His all sufficient grace. For His everlasting glory.