December 22, 2017
Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. Revelations 1:4-5
The Revelation ("unveiling" or "disclosure") explains how things on earth are going to end, and how things in the new heaven are going to begin. But more important than the "how" is the "Who." This is the revelation of Jesus Christ. He will guide all things to their appropriate ending, and then establish the new heavens and earth. Notice how the writer, John, describes our Lord.
Jesus is the faithful witness. If you want to know what God looks like, then take a close look at Jesus. No one has ever seen God, but Jesus "has made him known" (John 1:18). Jesus is the One who testifies on the Father's behalf. The Greek word translated witness is "martus." We get the word martyr from it. For Christians who have or are going through persecution, Jesus is the model of how to stand firm and never compromise the truth even in the face of death.
Jesus is the firstborn from the dead. Christ died for our sins according to Scripture. He was buried. The third day He rose again, according to Scripture. That's good news! And it gets even better. All who have trusted in Christ will pass from death to life.
Jesus is the ruler of the kings of the world. Human history tells the stories of empires that rise and fall. Nations clash in war and one is named the victor (not always the noblest nation). "But behind the chaotic events of history, the believer recognizes that Jesus Christ, who chose the way of obedience and humiliation, has in fact been exalted to God's right hand where he sits as Lord, ruling over the rulers of the earth. His second coming, from one point of view, is to be understood as making manifest to the world the sovereignty which is already his" (George Ladd, Commentary on the Revelation of John, 25).
Lord Jesus, many events are going on in the world that seem out of control. There are times when I am fearful and afraid of the way things are turning. But today I am reminded in Your Word that You are in complete control. You are the ruler of the kings of the world. My trust and confidence is in You alone. In Your name I pray. Amen.