Summary: What does Jesus look like?
THE REVELATION OF JESUS (B)
Revelation 1: 9-20
What does Jesus look like?
Helen Howarth Lemmel (1864-1961) was born in Great Britain to a Methodist pastor who moved his family to the United States when Helen was a child.
She went on to become a famous Christian singer and composer, and taught voice at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. In 1918 a friend gave her a pamphlet containing these words: So then, turn your eyes upon him, look full into his face and you will find that the things of earth will acquire a strange new dimness.
Impressed with these words, Helen wrote words and music for a wonderful gospel song, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.”
This song catches the impact that the vision of Christ in Revelation can have on our lives.
Christian artists throughout the centuries have been unable to avoid the urge to portray what Jesus looked like. Most often paintings and sculptures reflect the culture, class, and ethnic identity of the artist.
Michael Green, in his book Who Is This Jesus? makes a suggestion as to what Jesus might actually have looked like:
He was a Palestinian Jew, and as such the color of His skin would be olive, His eyes brown, and His nose hooked. Palestinian Jews had black hair and usually wore it long and carefully groomed. They valued a full beard, and it appears on many of the coins of the day... He wore a sleeveless undergarment with a girdle, the customary cloak and sandals, and carried a staff of journeys. That is all we know about His appearance or can guess with confidence.
But the Gospels have no interest in these things. They are profoundly disinterested in His size, the color of His eyes, and hair, and even His age and strength. These external things are unimportant. What a man is like stems from his character, and here the Gospels are eloquent.
In our study we are not overly concerned with Jesus’ physical appearance as there is little value in that. We gain spiritual strength from observing that Jesus stands among the churches, present with his people to help them in their time of need.
Revelation may not satisfy our curiosity concerning Jesus’ outward appearance, but it provides all the hope and encouragement we could ask for with its eloquent symbols letting us feel and connect with who he really is.
The Apostle John was the oldest living disciple of our Lord at the time of this writing. He was probably esteemed as the most revered saint of his day. Instead of attracting attention to himself of his position, he immediately identifies himself with his fellow believers in the Lord.
John identifies himself as a brother and companion to the seven churches to whom he writes.
He partakes in three things with his readers, the suffering, the kingdom and the patient endurance that are ours in Jesus.
John is a companion in the suffering (tribulation KJV). The Roman emperor Domitian regarded Christianity as a threat to the empire, so he persecuted the church relentlessly. Early believers were well acquainted with persecution and suffering, all because of their faith in Jesus. This suffering or tribulation is not, as some believe, the great tribulation that is to come.
2nd, he is a companion in the kingdom. The kingdom in not Rome. It is the kingdom of God that is in each one of us. The kingdom has been God’s plan for man from the beginning. John knew that God had a plan for his suffering.
3rd patient endurance that are ours in Christ. Patient endurance = perseverance! Occupying until He comes.
It is the believers witness and their radical love in all spheres of life that produces the conflict with the powers of the world. Long-suffering (perseverance) is the mark of Christ’s kingship in our lives.
Jesus’ power does not crush the opposition now, but uses suffering to test and purify the loyalty of his servants. Paul says that “His strength is made perfect in our weakness” 2 Corinthians 12:19.
Patmos is a tiny island, ten miles long and six miles wide at it’s north end, about 45 miles southwest of Ephesus. It was an island used for Roman penal purposes.
Eusebius, the church historian, mentions in his writings that John was banished to the island in 95 A.D. by Domitian and released eighteen months later by Nerva.
John was banished because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. In the natural this would have been a major setback, but God allowed him to go to Patmos to receive the contend to the book of Revelation.
Who says nothing good comes from suffering?
The Lord’s day by John’s time had become the Christian way to refer to the first day of the week, Sunday, in honor of Jesus’ resurrection. From the earliest times, Christians have met for worship on this day.