Summary: There is no other name in heaven or on earth that is more loved, more revered or more controversial than Jesus. This three-part sermon series answers the question, "Who is Jesus?" by examining three descriptions of Jesus given in Revelation.
Jesus Revealed: Part 1
Scott Bayles, pastor
Blooming Grove Christian Church: 2/10/2012
Jesus. There is no other name in heaven or on earth that is more loved, more revered or more controversial than Jesus.
At first glance, Jesus’ résumé is rather simple. He never traveled more than a few hundred miles from his hometown. He never wrote a book, never held a political office, never married, never had sex, never went to college, never visited a big city, and never even won a poker tournament.
Nevertheless, Jesus is the most famous person in all of history. More songs have been sung to him, artwork created of him, and books written about him than anyone who has ever lived. In fact, Jesus looms so large over human history that we actually measure time by him; we date our letters, our birth certificates, our checks, and everything else from the year of his birth.
And everyone seems to have an opinion about him. Jesus once asked his disciples, “Who are the people saying I am?” (Matthew 16:13 TLB). They gave a variety of answers and they still do today. In fact, BluefishTV took to the streets asking bystanders the question “Who is Jesus?” Listen to some of their answers.
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Mormons believe Jesus to be the spirit-brother of Lucifer. Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that he’s the Archangel Michael. Muslims claim that he was a prophet of Allah, but certainly not the Son of God. With so many conflicting opinions about Christ, I thinks its best that we turn to someone who actually knew him—John.
You and I only read about the hands that fed the thousands. Not John. He saw them—knuckled fingers, callused palms. He saw them. You and I only read about the feet that found a footpath through the waves. Not John. John saw them—sandaled, ten-toed, and sopping wet. You and I only read about his eyes—his flashing eyes, his fiery eyes, his weeping eyes. Not John. John saw them. For three years John followed Christ. He had seen Jesus countless times. Then one Sunday morning about three decades after Jesus was crucified on a hill outside Jerusalem, John saw Jesus again. But this encounter was far different from any in Galilee. The image so vivid, the impression so powerful, John was knocked to his knees. Here’s how he describes it:
“It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit. Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast… When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead.” (Revelation 1:10-17 NLT)
Wow. What are we to make of such an image? If you’re puzzled by what we just read, you’re not alone. First of all, keep in mind that what John wrote is not what he saw. What he wrote is like what he saw. Hair like wool, eyes like fire, feet like bronze, a voice like oceans, a face like the sun. The implication is—the human tongue is inadequate to describe Christ. But it isn’t what John saw that I want you to pay close attention to; rather, it’s what he heard.
Placing a compassionate hand on John’s shoulder, Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave” (Revelation 1:17-18 NLT).
These words—the first red-letters of Revelation—reveal to us who Jesus really is.
• JESUS IS AGELESS
First, Jesus is ageless. He told John, “I am the First and the Last.” Jesus repeats this moniker at the end of Revelation with a little more flare when he says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Revelation 22:13 NLT). In other words, Jesus is, always was and always will be.
It was Groucho Marx who said “Although it is generally known, I think it’s about time to announce that I was born at a very early age.” That’s true of all of us. But not Jesus. When he was born, he was already as old as time. His life didn’t begin in a manger in Bethlehem. In fact, Jesus makes several pre-incarnate cameos throughout the Old Testament. He blesses Abraham (Genesis 14), he wrestles with Jacob (Genesis 32), he’s worshipped by Joshua as the Lord of Heaven’s Armies (Joshua 5), he speaks to Isaiah in the temple (Isaiah 6), and he appears in the fiery furnace alongside Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 3).