Saturday, March 12, 2016

Portrait of Jesus - Revelation 1:11-16

Let’s pick up our study this week in Revelation 1:11 where it says, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last," and, "What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea." Here are the instructions that are given to John. He is to write everything that he sees in a book and send it to seven churches in Asia.

Now look at v.12, “Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands.” We will find out later in v.20 that these seven golden lampstands represent each of the seven churches that are mentioned in v.11. 

Now notice v.13-14, “and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.  His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire;” It’s interesting that we really do not have a detailed physical description of Jesus anywhere in the Bible or in history. We don’t know how tall he was. We don’t know if he had curly or straight hair. There are just no real details given on his physical appearance.

Something that I have found as I have traveled all over the world as a serviceman, missionary, and pastor is that we all want to portray him as looking like “us”. I’ve seen a black Jesus, a white Jesus, a Hispanic Jesus, and an Asian Jesus. However, in reality he was a Jewish Jesus and as such, looked like a Jew. Also, in Isaiah 53:2-3 we told that he was not out of the ordinary or above normal in his looks and appearance when it says, “For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.”I’m humored many times when I see the pictures of Jesus with blue eyes and the perfectly manicured beard. It’s almost a “Glamour Shots” portrayal of him. That’s not what the Bible teaches about his appearance. He was a normal man to look upon.

Look at v.15-16 which says, “His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.” Brass in the Bible always represents judgment and that’s exactly what Jesus is going to bring with him at his Second Coming in Revelation 19. 

Notice also that he “had in His right hand seven stars.” We are told in v.20 that these seven stars are the seven angels to each of the seven churches. The word angel means messenger. Since John was writing this letter to real churches, we can only assume that these angels are terrestrial (earthly) and not celestial (heavenly). After all, it was the earthly angels that were going to have to read the letters to their churches. So, the angels are the pastors of the seven churches. It feels pretty good to be reminded that I and my other pastor friends are referred to as angels in the Bible. I wish everyone thought of us that way!

And then finally, look at the last part of the verse that says, “out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword.” The sword is the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12 says, For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Also, Paul when speaking to the Ephesian church in Ephesians 6:17 encouraged them to “take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” We will discuss this in more detail next time.

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