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Revelation. Spurgeon, denominated the Prince of the Victorian Preachers said: “Only fools and madmen are positive in their interpretation of the Apocalypse.” He didn’t mean we couldn’t get anything from it – Spurgeon had a quite well defined view of last things. But he was wary of laying down strict schemes of events from it. And I could not agree more.
That said, I found preaching through the book extraordinarily profitable for my own soul – especially when spending time on passages like Rev. 1:9-20. The plain picture and words of comfort there aren’t dependent upon having a well thought out system of how human history will come to a close. As Ezekiel 40:5-43 begins to unpack the grand end God has in store for His people symbolized by the Temple imagery there, and Jesus displays His mercy and grace in the most sweet and tender way He deals with the woman caught in adultery in John 7:53-8:11 – It is the “fear not” of Jesus to John I’d like to turn our eyes to today.
Fitting – in our fearful time.
I’m Reid Ferguson, and this is Through the Word in 2020.
John was in a tough spot. He was an old man. The last of the Apostles. In exile on a remote island after having escaped being boiled in oil. Alone. Persecuted by a hostile government. Concerned about the state of Christ’s Church. And Jesus appears to him. So glorious in His resurrection that this one the Bible says was the disciple whom “Jesus loved” – that John falls down like a dead man. And what does Jesus say to him? “Fear not.” Given the way things are – uncertain, contrary and fearful, yet – “fear not.” And then Jesus gives John 4 reasons why he shouldn’t fear in the midst of all this turmoil and uncertainty. All centering on Christ Himself.
1. Because Jesus is the first and the Last. He began creation and life. And it is all moving inexorably toward the end He has planned. What He was after in the beginning of creating all things – will yet be fulfilled. That future cannot be stopped. Do not fear Christian – Jesus has never been less than both the first of all God’s plans and purposes, and the end toward which all things are moving. Which includes you and me.
2. He is the Living One. He is alive among His churches and His people – regardless of their condition. He is alive among us now. Knowing our every plus, and our every failing. Our challenges, our strengths, our weaknesses and our needs given our circumstances. He is not detached from His Church. The vision goes on to show that He walks in the midst of the lampstands – which represent the Churches. He walks among us even now. Observing. Interceding for us out of first hand knowledge. Present to sustain. Present to meet our every need.
3. I died, and behold I am alive forever more. Sin has its remedy in Him. Wrath is swallowed up in Him. He died in our place, and was raised for our justification and will never cease to be our living Savior and intercessor. He is alive – and is alive forever more. And in His resurrection, ours has been eternally secured.
4. He has the keys of death and the grave. He is Lord over our living, and Lord over our dying. And He is the One who can raise us from the dead to our everlasting inheritance in Him. Nothing can hinder His salvation – for He conquered death and the grave for us.
How we need to hear this again in our own present strained, uncertain and fearful circumstances. For these all remain true of our Christ. Even in our elections, Covid-19, and every personal circumstance.
Jesus is the first and the last. He is the living one. He died and is alive forever more. And He has all authority over death and the grave.
God willing, we’ll be back tomorrow.