Monday, September 12, 2011
GOING DEEPER - GOD WINS: A Study of Revelation Week One Devotional
It's All About Jesus!
The book of Revelation begins with these words, "The revelation of Jesus Christ..." This book is not just a revelation that comes from Jesus, it's a revelation about and of Jesus!
The supporting cast surrounding Jesus is colorful and interesting: the four horseman of the Apocalypse, angels, demons, the Great Harlot, the Antichrist, the False Prophet, the mark of the Beast, 666, seven seals, seven bowls, seven trumpets, two witnesses, the 144,000, cataclysmic disasters, the lake of fire and the awesomeness of heaven... But that's just the supporting cast!
In his excellent book, E-Quake, Jack Hayford describes Revelation like this, "...the book of Revelation is more than just a collection of prophecies; it's a handbook on worship... Revelation isn't an invitation to speculation; it's a summons to adoration! It's a call to focus on the glory, majesty and power of Jesus Christ."
The book of Revelation reminds us that history is really His-Story. In fact, your story is really His-Story. You can triumph, because He has already triumphed!
GOING DEEPER: Read Revelation 1 each morning this week, taking time to reflect on the description of Jesus contained in Revelation 1:12-18. Incorporate this description in your personal prayer and worship time. (See additional notes below for insights into the description.)
SCRIPTURE MEMORY: 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. 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."
SUGGESTED WORSHIP MUSIC: The First and the Last by Hillsong; Take Heart by Hillsong United; 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman
Revelation 1:12-16 (NIV), Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
Here are a few insights/thoughts about John's vision of Jesus:
• He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest…
John isn’t just giving us a fashion detail. Jesus was wearing the long robe of a Master, not the shorter garment of a servant or slave. John is letting us know that the same Savior who came in humility to serve, seek and to save was now enthroned on high as the Lord and Master over all creation!
The long robe is probably a reference to a priestly robe and a reminder that Jesus is our great high priest… The gold sash is a reminder that He is exalted above everything and everyone!
• His head and hair were white like wool.
In our culture, white hair is usually something to be avoided. It’s a sign of aging or infirmity. In fact, in our culture the only thing worse than having white hair is having “no hair.”
But John’s description of Jesus having hair that was as “white as wool” is remarkably similar to a vision that Daniel had of someone he called, “…the Ancient of Days…” (Daniel 7:9). John wants us to know and understand that our King is the Eternal King! He always has been and He always will be! Daniel called him the Ancient of Days!
• His eyes were bright like flames of fire…
Fire in the Bible is always a symbol of purity. His eyes pierce straight through all lies, deceit and cover-ups. In other words, Jesus is not only a God who looks right at you, He looks right through you… He knows your thoughts, motives, desires, dreams, the works…
• His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace…
The feet of Jesus were once wounded, but now they’ve become feet of dominion.
Bronze is a picture of strength. It’s an interesting material. It’s made up of two elements: iron and copper. Iron is strong, but it rusts. Copper doesn’t rust, and it’s pliable and bendable.
Bronze combines the strength of iron with the endurance of copper. When John says “…His feet were like burnished bronze...” it’s a picture of strength. Jesus Christ is strong and steady. He provides an unshakeable foundation and absolute security.
• His voice sounded like the thunder of mighty, roaring ocean waves.
This is an unmistakable statement that the Word of God is irresistibly alive and still speaks with power and authority above the den of history!
• In his right hand were seven stars…
What do you guys do with your right hand? You pound nails… You turn wrenches… You embrace friends… You lift weights…
What did Jesus do with His right hand? He held seven stars…
“He held seven stars in his right hand…”
Revelation 1:20 tells us that the stars are people. They’re the seven pastors of the churches. This is a picture of Jesus holding the pastor and the people of these seven churches in his hand.
• He spoke with such power and authority that it was as if a two-edged sword was coming straight from his mouth.
That two-edged sword is a picture of the power of His Word that is able to slay every adversary and cut through every attempt at self-deception.
When John sees Jesus, Jesus is ready for war! He is armed and ready to crush His enemies — sin, Satan and death with the power of His Word…
• His face was like the sun shining in all its strength…
John saw Jesus in his unveiled glory… He had seen Jesus like this once before on the Mount of Transfiguration, now he sees him like this again… The effect was staggering…
Revelation 1:17-18 (NIV), When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, "Fear not, I am the first and the last,18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”
John’s posture was a posture of abject worship. The Book of Revelation opens with the account of a man at worship, kneeling face first, not before a vision, but before the Victor!