Summary: John, on the Supremacy of Christ
A couple driving home from a conference talked about how they might use what they had learned at their jobs. Rounding a curve in the road, they came upon a serious motorcycle accident. The bike seemed to catch on something and flip into the air. The helmet-less driver was thrown fifty yards or so, and the bike landed not far away.
The two were the first to arrive. The man pulled off the road just north of the accident. Before he shut off the ignition, the woman was out of the car and running to the victim’s side. The man stopped another car and sent the occupants for help while he began to try to direct traffic. At one point in the chaos, he saw his wife crouched by the unconscious young man, stroking his hair and talking to him.
When the ambulance arrived and whisked the young man away, the couple got back into their car in silence. There was blood on the woman's hands and around the hem of her skirt.
After a bit her husband said, "I saw you talking to that young man. He was obviously unconscious. He may even have been dead. What could you possibly have been saying to him?"
She replied, "I just told him over and over, the worst is over. The healing has already begun."
[The healing has already begun; hold that thought—OYBT Rev 1—In this grand model of apocalyptic literature, John shares with seven Asian churches a vision that God gave him. A vision of victory; a vision of hope; a vision of Christ, the most exalted of kings.]
1. Today is Christ the King Sunday, a day on which we are to recognize the Lordship and Kingship of Christ Jesus. Pope Pius XI instituted this day in 1925 to celebrate the kingship of Christ as a way of combating the destructive forces of his age (needed now more than ever).
A. Theologically, it is the end of the church year. For Christians, the year begins with the birth of Jesus, follows his life to Easter and culminates with the recognition that Christ Jesus is King. The end of the year typically features a look at prophecies concerning the second coming.
B. You may be surprised to know that for every prophecy in the Bible concerning the first coming of the Messiah there are 8 that look forward to the second coming. Scholars estimate some 1845 references to the second coming of the Messiah in the OT. In the NT, one out of every 30 verses speaks of the second coming of the Messiah.
C. This Messiah, or Anointed One, is Christ; John begins his epistle by establishing Christ as the King above all Kings, the one worthy to be called the Anointed One.
2. The first chapter of Revelation should be a must-read for anyone forming an opinion about Jesus Christ. The typical Christian has an image of Christ taken from liberal theology, cultural philosophies, Hollywood characterizations and personal beliefs, but not from the Bible.
A. For them the modern Jesus is tolerant. He loves and accepts everybody regardless of his or her beliefs, morals, values, or lifestyle choices. He doesn’t make any demands of them. Doctrine and holiness aren’t important. All that matters is that you profess to love Jesus, and that will make Him happy.
B. The vision of Revelation strongly contradicts that view. It presents a figure of Christ that makes many professing Christians uncomfortable. Yet, amid the `sometimes-frightening portrayals stands the most exalted of Kings: the hope of every Christian.
[Today we consider the role of Jesus that John shared with seven churches. It is a fitting reminder of who Christ really is, and a stern warning to those who see him as something other than Savior and Lord. He begins, however, with the attributes of God the Father. . .]
II. ATTRIBUTES OF GOD THE FATHER (1:4)
1. God the Father is the source of divine favor and its resulting spiritual well being; he opens his salutation with Grace and peace to you from [God]. Grace is divine favor shown to the human race; peace is the state of spiritual well being that follows as a result. Apart from God’s grace, man has no peace; apart from grace and peace, man has no hope.
2. God is eternal; him who is, and who was, and who is to come. Christians in John’s day faced terrible persecution from both political and religious figures. They needed reassurance that the power of Christ in them was God’s power, and that said power would not wither away. That is John’s point; God is, was, and is yet to come; he has no beginning, no end, and there is no limit to the grace and peace John wishes them.