Revelation 1 - Jesus in glory
During this fast season we are exploring - through what we read in a chapter a day of the Bible - who God is and what He is like.
1. Pray and read - preferably together
2. Pray and share
The book of Revelation has many sections that seem strange and difficult to modern Western thinking. But the essence of the book is clear: Jesus is on the throne and God’s purposes will surely be fulfilled. Jesus is on the throne in heaven until His enemies are made his footstool (Psalm 110:1-2).
Verses 4 to 8 are John’s greeting to the seven churches - the seven ‘apostolic hubs’ of the first and second centuries in what is now Western Turkey - and it sets out the theme of the whole book. Jesus is in glory in heaven, so worship him!
We worship even though the rest of the world is not yet brought under His rule. Therefore our experience is a mix of glory and trouble. In verse 9 John links kingdom and tribulation (in Revelation "the great tribulation" probably does not mean a specific phase of history but “trouble” or “persecution” throughout history). We are under the rule of the King but, while the rest of the world is not, there is tribulation.
Pressure and persecution does not indicate we are going wrong or that God is not blessing us. It just indicates we are in a spiritual battle. Sometimes the spiritual battle has very a physical and earthly manifestation. John wrote this book as a prisoner on Patmos, an island concentration camp, where the prisoners were put to work in mines.
In awful conditions, he lifted his spiritual eyes to Jesus, the One he had loved when on earth and the One he still loves. The result of seeing Him? Worship. In fact John fell down as though dead. The best friend, now in glory, is so awesome in the true sense of the word that John falls down in fear!
The vision of Jesus Himself comes after John sees the seven lampstands, which are interpreted by Jesus in verse 20 as the seven churches of Asia Minor. Jesus is the ultimate light of the world (John 1:4-5 and 8:12). But the church is the light of the world here on earth, now that Jesus is in heaven in glory (Matthew 5:14-16).
How we live and what we pray determines whether others see light in us. They still have their own choices to make - we cannot force people to become Christians. They decide whether to come under the rule of the King. But we need to let our light shine so they can see something of Jesus.
3. Pray and act
The best way to shine brighter is to fall down in worship regularly and live 24/7 with a heart attitude of worship!
Lord, please reveal Yourself more as we worship You!