September 30, 2014
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 30 September 2014
During his days upon this earth, the glory of Jesus Christ was veiled and all humanity could behold Him. Revelation 1 records the Apostle John’s vision of the resurrected Lord, and thus Jesus possessed the radiance of the glory of God. Therefore, it is not surprising in light of the revelation that he received, that John fell at the feet of the resurrected and ascended Jesus Christ. John’s response was truly an act of submission and recognition of Christ’s authority. How enlightening to consider that John, who had known the Lord so intimately during the time of his earthly ministry, fell prostrate before Him when his glory was revealed.
Christ’s words to John reveal something of the Lord’s character. Jesus reminded John that He is the eternal, self-existent One, for He is “the first and the last” (Rev 1:17). Additionally, the Lord Jesus is the living One who has conquered death and who is alive forevermore (1:18). Jesus conquered death, thus He is the One who has the right to judge.
The Lord Jesus now possesses “the keys of death and of Hades.” The reference to “death” is meant to be a reference to the place that holds the nonmaterial remains of a man when he dies. “Hades” (commonly translated “hell” or “grave”) probably refers to the place that holds the material part of a human being following death (it is not speaking of a permanent location, just an intermediate state). Jesus Christ “died for our sins . . . was buried, and . . . was raised” from the grave (1 Cor 15:3-4); therefore, He has authority and victory over both death and Hades (15:50-58).
The Lord’s instructions to John are unmistakable: the Apostle was to record the things that he had seen, in addition to “the things which are, and the things which shall take place after these things” (Rev 1:19). A final word of clarification was given to John, which explained other aspects of his vision of the glorified Lord (1:20).
The seven stars represent the angels or messengers of the seven churches (cf. 1:16), whereas the seven golden lampstands (cf. 1:12) represented the seven churches of Asia Minor, which are addressed in Revelation 2—3. Although the letters were addressed to angels (messengers), the contents are clearly intended for all members of the church. The lampstands were light-bearers and were a fitting emblem of local churches, which are supposed to shine for God amid the darkness of this world.
From this brief study of Revelation 1, we have a depiction of Christ among the lampstands — the churches — as the Son of Man, the one with power over the nations and with everlasting dominion and glory. Jesus is the great High Priest who is the propitiation for the sins of his people once and for all. As the glorious Ancient of Days (cf. 1:12-16), the Lord Jesus is wise and pure, and has eyes that are aflame with holiness, which means He has unstoppable plans for you, for me, for his church, and for the world.
Let us pray that God will cause us to shine amid the darkness until his work for us is accomplished, and we stand before without shame for a life well-lived to his eternal glory.
Your missionary to our Capitol community,