Monday, October 22, 2012

Revelation and Not Being Afraid

John's my favorite of the disciples. He's thoughtful, tender and sweet, rare traits in manly men, but endearing nonetheless. He's humble, too. Wouldn't name himself in his biography of Jesus considering it bad form to brag blatantly. There was a beloved disciple for Christ, John just didn't say it was himself.

He was there for Jesus after the others had left him alone on the cross. No doubt he honored Jesus' request that he care for Jesus' mother.

Was it that he was the only disciple there to charge with this duty?

Or could it could be that Jesus knew even from the cross that John would be the last disciple standing?

Perhaps it was by design that John be the last so that he might be available when the time came for Jesus' coming Revelation? 

Jesus seems to have hand-picked his beloved disciple for the big reveal about the future.



Just the sight of a heavenly Jesus in his full radiance and majesty was enough to overcome Jesus' most intimate friend, causing John to fall at his feet as though dead. John may not have recognized his old friend. Eternity had treated Him well, after all.

Perhaps a less acquainted companion would actually die of fright before Jesus could explain Himself.

Yes, I think He chose John purposefully.

This heavenly Jesus must have barely resembled the earthly Jesus, although I'm sure it was hard for John to see much of anything discernible with all that blazing, golden, white, fiery, glowing Light shining in his eyes. Perhaps if John hadn't fainted from fright, he might have felt the nail scars on those burnishing bronze feet at which he fell and recognized Him then.

But I doubt John ever recognized his old friend because this risen Jesus has to identify Himself. Again.

The risen Jesus always had to identify himself.

Apparently the earthly no longer recognizes the heavenly. And holiness now scares us so much we don't want to see Him.

But if Jesus chose John specifically, then their history together bleeds all over this scene in my mind's eye.

Jesus touches him and says, "Do not be afraid." (It's me — Jesus. This is just like when I walked on water and the Mount of Transfiguration. Remember? You were afraid then, too.)

"I am the first..." (It's me, — Jesus. Remember the fishing boat so full it was sinking and how it changed your life forever?)

"...and the last," (It's me. Really. Remember my post-resurrection visits? Our last times together? Surely you recognize at least some of that version of Me?)

"...and the living One;" (Which reminds me. The Resurrection!)

"I was dead," (You alone were there. Calvary. Golgotha. In all the most important times, it was always you and me, John.)

"...and behold, I am alive forevermore." (And the tomb? You entered it, but I wasn't there. That tomb held forevermore in it, not death. It's me, John; look a little closer.)

"I have the keys to death and to Hades." (And John? Look what I have. It's important that you don't  lose sight of my victory in all that I am about to show you. You're going to find it a very comforting truth.)

***

Much of Revelation 1 is devoted to reminders of who Jesus is: v.4-6, v.8, and finally the very personal words spoken straight to John in real time, v.17-18.

These words are hope, reassurance and a comfort. Not just to John, but to me, another disciple that has a history with Jesus. A history that involves my being afraid in light of his power or his holiness. I've wrestled publicly with my fear of God here, herehere, and here just to name a few.

But Revelation is convincing me not to be afraid of Him.

Now that's a sentence I never thought I'd write.


















5 comments:

  1. Oh I have known the wrong fear of the Lord for too many years...but praise be to God for His love and mercy...one that has lead me from a fear based relationship to on built on Love...His unmerited unconditional love...I never want to go back to be driven by fear...only to live led by Love. great post....blessings~

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  2. It's important that you don't lose sight of my victory in all that I am about to show you...Needed this right now. . .at this moment. Thank you.

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  3. Awesome! This assurance is so powerful, "Don't be afraid!" I love that Jesus immediately follows these words by saying to John, "Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later." John MacArthur comments on these words in his Revelation commentary: "Based upon what you've just experienced (John), get up and do your task. He already told him what He wanted him to do in verse 11...write in a book what you see. Now instead of writing it, he's laying there on the ground like a dead man. I commend your fear, I give you assurance, now get up, dust yourself off and go to work. This vision should inspire the healthy tension between fear and assurance. But it also should lead to duty. Get a grip on yourself, John, get your pen moving, write therefore the things. It's a call to duty." Dawn, you also have a "call to duty" in your writing, never forget that! Keep writing in the Fear of The Lord!

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  4. dawn!

    this is beautifully and so thoughtfully written.
    i have been memorizing john 1 for the past
    year (it takes longer than it used to!) i find
    that it has to do with everything i see and
    hear.

    in the beginning was the Word . . . he then
    tells us about Him in revelation.

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  5. Oh yes, being "afraid" of all that He was, is and always will be! The power that He holds! Thank you for sharing so beautifully :) We're neighbors this wk at Graceful :) Blessings! simplyhelpinghim.com

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