Today, I am praying that you will see a beautiful picture of Jesus. We are in the midst of a series of messages from the book of Revelation. The last book of the Bible is called the Revelation of Jesus Christ. It is the Revelation by Jesus Christ to His servant John concerning things that must soon take place. But it is also a Revelation about Jesus Christ. Today, we are going to examine one more picture of Jesus in the book of Revelation: “Jesus, the Risen Lord.” As we study, our artist, Ginny Miller, is going to capture this message in a beautiful picture!
I invite you to open your Bible to the last book of the Bible, the Revelation of Jesus Christ, and we are going to begin reading in chapter 1, verse 9. “I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus..”
The island of Patmos was not a vacation resort in the Mediterranean! Patmos was a prison island; an Alcatraz of the ancient world. Patmos is located in the eastern part of the Aegean Sea, between Greece and Asia Minor, or modern Turkey. The island of Patmos is about 150 miles due east of Athens; about 60 miles southeast of Ephesus. It is a rocky, treeless island that was used as a rock quarry, and a prison. As an old man, the apostle John had been banished to the island of Patmos because of his testimony about Jesus.
I pray to God that we will also have such a powerful testimony about Jesus Christ that someone will want to shut us down, or ship us out, or silence our speaking. I’m not looking for persecution. I’m not looking for trouble. But I am praying that the truth about Jesus will be proclaimed with such Holy Spirit power that our own lives, our families, our communities will be shaken! That’s the kind of testimony about Jesus that the apostle John gave and he ended up on the isle of Patmos!
Let’s continue reading in Revelation 1:10. “On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet,”
Some Christians see this expression “the Lord’s Day” as a reference to Sunday, the first day of the week. They use this text to support the idea that Christians should worship on Sunday rather than on the Sabbath, in harmony with the 4th commandment.
First, let me point out that this verse is not speaking of which day we should keep holy as a day of worship. It’s identifying the day of John’s vision. Second, this is the only place in the New Testament where this specific expression “The Lord’s day” is used. And nowhere in Scripture is the Lord’s Day identified as Sunday, the first day of the week. Not one text. Not one.
It is true that some church fathers in the 2nd century and following use the term “the Lord’s day” in reference to the first day of the week. But it seems dangerous to interpret Scripture by later history. For Scripture had also warned of a coming apostasy away from the truth of God’s Word. So just because some church fathers in later years used the expression “the Lord’s day” in reference to Sunday, doesn’t prove that the apostle John had that intention.
Let me repeat what I said earlier: there is not one text in Scripture where the Lord’s Day is identified as Sunday, the first day of the week. And this particular text says nothing about changing the day of worship from Sabbath to Sunday, the first day of the week.
The day that is clearly identified in Scripture as the Lord’s Day is the Sabbath day, the seventh day of the week. Right in the 4th commandment, the LORD our God declared, “the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God….Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” And Jesus claimed, in Mark 2:28, to be LORD of the Sabbath day.
I recognize that some Bible scholars believe that this reference to the day of the LORD is a reference not to a specific day of the week but rather to a time in earth’s history. The apostle Peter speaks of the day of the Lord in 2 Peter 3:10. The apostle Paul speaks of the day of the LORD in 2 Thessalonians 2:2. So John could be saying, “I was caught up in vision by the Holy Spirit and shown the time when all things will be finally brought to a glorious conclusion…the day of the Lord. That is certainly a possible interpretation.
Personally, I am convinced that the most simple explanation of this expression, “the Lord’s day,” is that the Apostle John was caught up in the Spirit and received this heavenly vision on the day that the Lord blessed and made holy, the day that He claimed to be Lord of, the Sabbath day.
Let’s continue to read from Revelation chapter 1, now in verse 11-17: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.
“I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
“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.”
Right there we have a clue regarding the identity of this glorious being. Later in the book of Revelation, John falls at the feet of an angel. And notice the angel’s response recorded in Revelation 19:10; and the angel says: “At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
Now go back to Revelation 1:17, where the apostle John has just fallen at the feet of this glorious being. How does this glorious being respond? Revelation 1:17-18. “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. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”
Who is this glorious being revealed in Revelation chapter 1? It’s not an angel. This is none other than Jesus, the risen Lord! Notice, “I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive forever!” Here, in the first chapter of the book of Revelation, we find a picture of Jesus, the risen Lord!
Does the apostle John recognize Jesus? After all, John knew Him well. John was the disciple whom Jesus loved. John doesn’t tell us if he recognized Jesus or not. One thing is certain. John had never seen Jesus in all of His glory. Even the glory revealed on the mount of Transfiguration didn’t compare to the glory of the risen Lord! Notice that Jesus stretched out His right hand and touched John. Why is that important?
Why does John record that it was Jesus’ right hand? Because that was the hand of favor. That was the hand of blessing. “Fear not, the Lord, had declared, for I am with you. Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand!”
Why is this picture of Jesus, the Risen Lord, so important? Because Jesus, the Risen Lord, gives us hope! Simply dying on a cross didn’t prove anything. Many people have been put to death on a cross. Simply saying that He was the Messiah didn’t prove anything. Many people have claimed to be the Messiah.
But Jesus, after He had laid down His life for our sins and was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities, and after Jesus had rested in the tomb on the Sabbath day, just as God had rested on the Sabbath day after the work of creation was completed, on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, Jesus rose up from that grave. Jesus conquered death! Oh death, where is now your sting? Oh grave, where is now your victory!
The resurrection of Jesus from the dead gives us confidence that Jesus is indeed the One that He claimed to be—the Messiah, the Son of God, the Savior of the world. Ah, but you might say, “Other people have been raised from the dead! Even during the ministry of Jesus, Lazarus was raised from the dead, and the widow of Nain’s son, and Jairus’ daughter. They were raised from the dead, and many more, and their resurrections didn’t prove that they were the Messiah.
How does the resurrection of Jesus give us confidence that He was the Messiah? Because Jesus predicted that He would rise from the dead, and He even predicted when He would rise from the dead. Early in His earthly ministry, Jesus gave a startling prophecy. The same apostle John who recorded the Revelation of Jesus Christ also recorded these words of Jesus, found in the Gospel of John, chapter 2:19. “Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
Near the end of His earthly ministry, Jesus gave another prophesy concerning His impending death and resurrection. Mark 10:32-34. “They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.”
Did you notice the expression “Son of Man” used in that passage? That is a term that is used in reference to Messiah. And that expression is also found in the picture of Jesus in Revelation chapter 1. Jesus, the Messiah, not only died for our sins, according to the Scripture, but He rose from the dead, a victor over death and the grave, just as He had predicted!
And the resurrection of Jesus from the dead was so undeniable to His followers, and such an undeniable truth that Jesus was indeed the Messiah, that they were willing to go to every nation, kindred, tongue and people, boldly proclaiming that Jesus was risen from the dead!
And more than that, these followers of Jesus, and followers of Jesus down through the centuries, have been willing to give their lives because of their faith in Jesus, the risen Lord! This picture of Jesus, the risen Lord, gives us hope because we can be certain that He is who He claimed to be: the Messiah, the Son of God, our Savior.
But there is a second reason why this picture of Jesus in the book of Revelation is so important. Jesus, the risen Lord, gives us hope because He is who He claimed to be—the Messiah, the Son of God, our Savior. But secondly, Jesus, the risen Lord, gives us hope. Someone should say Hallelujah” out there! Jesus, the risen Lord, gives us hope, because by faith in Him, we too have conquered death!
Go back with me to the picture of Jesus in Revelation chapter 1. Look in Revelation 1:18. What does Jesus, the risen Lord, have in his hand? The keys of death and Hades. Death and the grave. Why is Jesus, the risen Lord, holding the keys of death and the grave? Because Jesus has conquered death. Jesus has conquered the grave. Not just for Himself, but for all of us. Jesus has conquered death for you. Jesus has conquered death for you. And for you. And for me.
How do I know that Jesus, the risen Lord, has conquered death and the grave for me? Go back with me to one of the most well-known sayings of Jesus, also recorded by the apostle John, in John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life..”
Now listen to the words of Jesus in John 6:39-40. “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
And again in John 10:27-28. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” No one can snatch us out of His hand. Not even death!
Jesus, the risen Lord, gives us hope! He gives us hope because His resurrection from the dead confirms that He is indeed the Messiah, the Son of God, our Savior. And Jesus, the risen Lord, gives us hope because, by faith in Him, we too have conquered death and the grave. We too, as followers of Jesus, saved by His grace, can boldly declare, “O death, where is your sting? O grave, where is your victory?” Why? Because Jesus, the risen Christ has the keys! That’s why Jesus, the risen Christ gives us hope!
Carl needed that hope more than ever. He had just received a message from back home. There had been a tragic accident. His oldest daughter Mindy had been enjoying a relaxing Sabbath afternoon with some friends on a river in Washington State.
Later that same afternoon, as Mindy and a friend were floating across the river, they were caught in a strong current. That strong current dragged them into some dangerous rapids. Mindy’s friend was found down river, clinging to a rock. She had some bumps and bruises, and she was seriously shaken up, but she had survived the fierceness of the rapids.
Mindy was not so fortunate. Her body was found floating face down in the river about a mile down stream. She had been underwater for about 15 minutes. Although CPR revived a pulse, Mindy remained unconscious, struggling to breathe with first one and then two collapsed lungs. Mindy’s life was in the balance.
When her father Carl heard the tragic news, he was seven thousand miles away. He felt so afraid and so helpless. Carl just wanted to be there by his daughter’s side to tell her how much he loved her. The promises of Scripture that he had shared with others didn’t seem to comfort him. But Carl was led to the story of Jairus.
It’s recorded in Matthew 9, Mark 5, and Luke 8. You might want to read the story later today. Jairus’ daughter was also at the point of death. Her life was also in the balance. Carl sensed the anguish that must have been in Jairus’ heart as he tried to get to Jesus. Carl resonated with Jairus’ desperate cry: “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so she will be healed and live.” Carl also felt Jairus’ anguish of trying to make it home through all of the crowds. It took Carl nearly 48 hours to get home, only to discover that his daughter Mindy had been pronounced dead a few hours earlier.
The words that Jesus spoke to Jairus sounded in Carl’s ears. “Do not fear. Only believe.” Do not fear. Jesus, the risen Christ, has conquered death and the grave. Only believe. All who have faith in Jesus have eternal life and He will raise them up on the last day. Brothers and sisters, Jesus, the Risen Christ, has the keys of death and the grave! He has the keys!
Carl’s testimony is recorded in the November 23, 2006, issue of the Adventist Review. His testimony touched my heart, and also filled me with hope. Carl ends his testimony with these words: “There is only one aspect of Jairus’s story that I cannot yet identify with—the joy that he experienced when his daughter was restored to him. As hard and painful as my daughter’s death is, I promised her that I would continue that journey that I began with Jesus….One day, very soon, I too will know Jairus’s joy as my little daughter is restored to me on resurrection morning.” (“My Journey With Jairus” in Adventist Review, November 23, 2006, p. 12)
That’s the hope that we find in Jesus! Jesus, the risen Lord, gives us hope. He gives us hope by His resurrection from the dead that He is indeed the Messiah, the Son of God, our Savior. And Jesus, the risen Lord, gives us hope because by faith in Him, we too have conquered death and the grave!
And there is going to be a whole lot of joy on that great getting up morning. Can you say Amen out there? When the dead in Christ rise from their dusty graves, there’s going to be a whole lot of joy. We can trust the words of Jesus, the risen Christ. He promised “I will raise them up at the last day.” Carl and his wife Carol, along with their other children, are going to be looking for Mindy on the resurrection day. And you have some loved ones that you are going to be looking for too, don’t you? And so do I. What a day of rejoicing that will be.
Jesus, the risen Lord, gives us hope. He has the keys of death and the grave. And because He lives, we too shall live. Because He lives, we can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Jesus, the risen Lord, gives us hope. If you have never trusted Jesus as your Savior, if you have never let Him forgive your sins and save you, I invite you to make that commitment today. Let the risen Christ fill your life with peace. Let the risen Christ fill your life with joy. Let the risen Christ fill your life with hope!
What a beautiful picture of Jesus from the book of Revelation. Jesus, the risen Lord, gives us hope!
By Derek Morris, Pastor of the Forest Lake Church in Apopka, FL. Better Sermons © 2005-2009. Click here for usage guidelines.