The picture most of us have in mind about Jesus is limited. We often think of him as a gentle person. True. He was so while on earth, and even now he is caring and compassionate. Yet we too need, like John in exile in the Island of Patmos had, a vision of the risen Lord in his majesty, glory, power and authority (Revelation 1:12–18).
His very appearance is beyond words. John who knew Jesus so intimately so as to rest his head on his chest (John 13:25) now suddenly finds himself at loss for words. Jesus, his face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. Even though John had seen Jesus on the Mount of transfiguration (Matthew 17:2), he was totally unprepared for what he saw.
Now let us look at John’s response. “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.” My dear friend, the Apostle John was the one who was closest to Jesus. Yet he fell down as though dead. Why? He saw Jesus in glory. No man can stand in his holy and majestic presence unless God enables him to. Now just for a moment think. You might have heard Jesus presented in various ways. Always compare what you hear with the reality of the risen Lord described here.
His eyes were like blazing fire. Can you or can I escape his all-knowing look? Has not he done that in compassion towards you all your life? But have you that wrong idea that Jesus is weak and you can take advantage of his grace and mercy? You will know better than that if you can try to see the Jesus that John saw.
Then there is his message. His voice was like the sound of rushing a waters. Yet when he spoke to John telling him not to be afraid he must have done so gently. First of all Jesus touched him. Only those who have experienced the power of a human touch while in distress know what it means to have the risen Lord who touches you.
Again Jesus tells John that he is the First and the Last. Whatever that means, for you it simply includes all that which concerns you. From the simplest worry about a pimple on your face to the more complex need of a earning your daily bread with respect and dignity; all your concerns find its place between “the First and the Last.”
Moreover, Jesus points out to John the fact that he was dead. But he is the Living One. He was dead. It is true. But now he is alive. That is a fact no man on earth can claim for himself. Jesus alone! He said, “I am alive for ever and ever.” Is there any good news there? Of course. The Bible says he ever lives to intercede for us (Hebrews 7:25). Have you ever been thankful to God for the prayers that Jesus is constantly offering for you before his Father in heaven?
Jesus, in this encounter, also underlined the absolute authority of his. He passed through death. And death finally met its match because it could not hold the author of life (Acts 3:15). In that victory Jesus took the keys of death and Hades. Remember keys are kept by those in authority. And his authority is absolute. Now what do you fear when the risen Lord is with you?