Summary: Standing in front of the empty tomb, Jesus looks us in the eye and gives us the clearest possible statement of who He is. We need to listen.
Passage: Revelation 1:17-18
Intro: Imagine yourself as a 4 year old kid who wakes up because of a loud tapping on his window. You open your eyes and look out the window, and see this.
PP) fireman in full face mask.
PP) or worse yet, he has an axe!
1. of course, you are terrified. What is this? Who is this? What is he going to do to me?
2. firemen know they look scary, so they go out of their way to make sure kids recognize them, that they are there to help.
PP firemen and kids at open house.
3. in the verses leading up to our passage, Jesus is revealed in all His glory.
4. it is a sight so terrifying that the apostle John passes out. We would too.
5. but Jesus’ responses are powerful. And they are spoken to us.
6. stand with me before the empty tomb and listen to the Risen Lord of the Universe.
I. Don’t Be Afraid
1. this beautiful command is common in Scripture.
2. very typical of God’s desire for people, that they view God as a loving being with their best interests at heart.
3. and in our passage, the words come with a gentle touch of Jesus’ right hand.
4. in the Bible, this is always a hand of blessing, of love.
5. a coupled with the words “don’t be afraid,” it is a powerful statement of love, of a desire for the best for another.
PP) when a mother sees her child get hurt, what is her instinctive response? To hold that child and whisper words of assurance.
6. not quite that simple for us. We are typically afraid of God. So we ask, “Why shouldn’t I be afraid?”
7. and Jesus now makes some incredibly powerful statements to us. They build on each other.
II. “I Am the Necessary One, Eternally in Control of all of Creation.”
1. wow, that is quite a statement.
2. in our text, it is “I am the First and the Last” v17
3. break it down to understand it.
4. “I Am” is a very specific God designation, what God calls Himself.
PP Exodus 3:14
5. in Greek, ego eimi= I didn’t have a beginning and will not have an ending. I just am.
6. think about yourself; you have a birthdate, and you will have an end date.
7. He is the Cause of everything that is, just like the Bible says…
PP) John 1:3
8. There must be one being that always was and always will be, and Jesus is saying here, “I am that being.”
9. so He is not bound by time, there is no place or time where He is not.
10. since He is the Creator, He has control over everything He has made.
11. scholars like to call this “sovereignty”; He is the king of all creation because He is the Creator.
Il) none of us deny an artist the right to destroy his work and start again. He is sovereign over it, because he is the creator.
12. but there is a problem we have not addressed yet.
13. the majesty of God terrifies us because there we sense there is a problem between us. But watch how Jesus addresses that.
III. “I Took On Your Enemy as My Own, and Defeated It.”
1. v18 is just packed!
2. first, “I am the living one”=Life is part of my character. No one gave it to me. I just have it, and always will!
3. but here is the great part for us.
4. “I was dead”…how can this be?
5. this means that the living one, the creator of the earth, became part of the human race.
6. death is not part of God, but it is our environment.
7. we are controlled by sin and it’s partner, death.
8. sin is our choice, death is the result.
PP Romans 5:12
9. and not just physical death, but worse, separation from God.
10. we were all trapped by these terrible enemies, without hope.
11. but Jesus came and defeated one, and then the other.
12. he walked right up to death, looked it right in the eye, and defeated it. How?
13. because death is connected to sin
PP Romans 6:23
14. so if Jesus could defeat sin, he would break the sin/death connection.
15. and when He rose from the dead, it proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that he had broken the grip that sin had on the human race, providing us a way out.
PP Romans 8:1-2
16. we are afraid of God because of sin, and we are afraid of death because it is the punishment for sin.
17. but Jesus took on sin, defeated it by being the perfect sinless sacrifice for it, and therefore death was not able to hold him.