advent lettering

O Come All Ye Faithful


Today's Reading

Revelation 1:9-18

We have spent time this Christmas season looking at moments when people have met Jesus for the first time, whether that be at his birth, throughout His ministry, or after His resurrection. As we close out our thoughts on biblical figures, let’s take a moment to explore an encounter with Jesus that was like no other—John’s vision on Patmos.

It is always daunting to open the Book of Revelation. Filled with imagery and apocalyptic language, the writing has been a source of various debates throughout centuries. People argue over the symbolism, the meaning, and the prophetic nature of it all.

Yet at the heart of the book is a simple message that can often get lost—Jesus wins.

Our passage opens with John, praying on a Sunday morning on the island of Patmos. An old man by this time, John had lived an incredible life. You can imagine that he might have woken up that morning and reflected on it all.

He was a fisherman and had a tight-knit family. Throughout his life, he had an unusual drawing to all things spiritual, and perhaps he was a regular attender at the synagogue, staying afterwards to talk with the Rabbi. His mom was involved in his life as well, and his brother, James, was always there by his side.

One day, he heard about a strange prophetic figure in the Jordan wilderness talking about the coming Kingdom. Interested, he and James headed off to listen to this preacher. They were immediately struck by this man’s passion and clarity, and they identified themselves as sinful and in need of a Savior. The two pledged to follow the teachings of this John the Baptizer, that is until the day when John met Jesus.

The brothers might have been there the day Jesus was baptized, or they heard about it later, but when they themselves saw Jesus, they left John and became followers of Christ. For three years their lives were filled with wonder as they witnessed the miracles of Jesus and heard His teachings. They both grew closer and closer to Jesus, sensing Him to almost be a part of their family.

When Jesus was taken away and crucified, they were heartbroken, but John stayed the course and pledged to care for Jesus’ mother as if she were his own. The pain of that day and days that followed must have been unbearable. They had lost their first teacher, John the Baptist, who had been beheaded, and now they lost their second teacher who had also been slain. What could they do next?

Then Sunday came. Jesus rose again, and everything changed. The sorrow and heartbreak turned to joy and laughter, and a man who was committed to Christ but never stood up in front of people became one of the most powerful witnesses in the Early Church. He began congregations and visited and shepherded them. He wrote letters of encouragement and exhortation. He debated heretics and sought to keep the church on the right path. He even took the time to write a Gospel about all that he had experienced throughout His amazing life.

So when he woke up that morning, exiled on this Roman prison island, he must have thought that he had really seen it all. But he hadn’t.

“Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches.”

The voice came from behind him, booming with authority and power he had never heard before, but something about it was so familiar. Turning, he was petrified at what he saw. “Is this Jesus?” he thought.

Unlike the last time that he saw Jesus, some sixty years prior, this vision wore a priestly robe, with a golden sash he had never seen before. His hair white was as snow, eyes blazing with fire, and feet glowing bronze. This Jesus was more powerful, magnificent, and glorious than anything John had ever seen. Can you imagine the feelings that had to be going through John?

And don’t you love how Jesus responds? “Do not be afraid.” The Lord knows us so well. Every time that He reveals Himself to us, whether it be through the angels in the Old Testament, angels in the New Testament, or here in Revelation, He always leads with that line—“Do not be afraid.” In fact, every time God continues to reveal Himself to us, whether it be through Scripture, prayer, a special message we hear, or just a still small voice, He says the same thing—“Do not be afraid.”

Of course, it’s easy for someone to say that, but do they really have the authority to keep us safe? Well, Jesus does.

“I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One.” I think that is a pretty hefty résumé, but He doesn’t end there.

“I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!” Boy, that’s a solid claim. Nobody else can say that.

“And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” That seals the deal!

The Jesus that John met that day was Jesus the Victor. He was the Jesus who stood above the problems and the worries of life. He was the Jesus who had defeated all things, even death.

And guess what. This vision of Jesus wasn’t a temporary thing. John didn’t make it up or look into some future state of Jesus that hasn’t happened yet.

No, the Jesus who John saw, clothed in majesty and glory, with the earth as His footstool and holding the keys to life and death—this Jesus is our Jesus! So as we prepare our hearts for Christmas, let’s remember that the Jesus we see in the manger is also the one walking among the golden lamp stands. The humble child is our victorious King.

Let us fall down in awe and worship Christ Jesus, our Lord!

Previous Article Next Article