Summary: This is a sermon prepared for Easter morning and appropriate to use at anytime. It speaks to the living and eternally living nature of our risen Savior!
From the desk of Pastor Toby Powers
Truth Baptist Church
56 Taylor Cir
Carrollton, GA 30117
US Hwy 78
Bremen, GA 30110
THE EVER-LIVING CHRIST
We long, sometimes, to behold Christ in his glory. Certainly, it is one of our brightest hopes that we shall see him as he is. Every true believer can say, with Job, "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another." (Job 19:25). But, brethren, as we are now constituted, we are quite unfit for the vision of our Master’s glory. It was well that, when he was on earth, he veiled himself in the form of man, for when he did uplift the veil a little, as he did on the mountain of transfiguration, the sight, though it was but a glimpse, was too much for Peter, and James, and John. They were overpowered by it, they fell asleep even upon the holy mount; and even when they were awake, they knew not what to say. And as we now are, if we could be favored with a sight of Christ in his glory, it would be too much for us also. It was too much even for John, and we are far inferior to him. Our eyes are not as clear and strong as his eyes were; yet he could not endure that wondrous vision.
The gray old saint in Patmos had been familiar with his Master more years than most of us have known him. He had laid his head upon the Savior’s bosom, - a privilege accorded to none beside himself. He was the only disciple to have ever heard the Lord’s heart beat! He had stood at the cross, and seen the blood and water flow from that dear heart that loved him so well; and yet, though he was "that disciple whom Jesus loved," when even he had a sight of his glorified Master, he fell at his feet as dead. The full glory of Christ is too much for us to behold while we are here on the earth. After while, when we are equipped for it, the prayer of Jesus shall be fulfilled when he said, “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me."
Notice the comfort of the Lord: He laid his hand upon him. John must have thought, "I’ve seen that hand before; I’ve felt this touch before; I’ve heard this sweet voice before; I’ve felt his breath before; Could it be? It must be him!" It is the nail pierced hand that comforts our weary souls. He says, “Fear not." And the reason he does not have to fear is the identity of this living Savior. It was Jesus... the one John truly loved! He identified himself to John:
I. As HE THAT LIVETH. It was important for the battle worn Apostle to know that he was not seeing things. He needed the assurance that this was not a ghost or mirage on this deserted isle. It was the risen Lord. It was not a figment of his imagination; it was a living person. He begins to show some of the qualities of the risen Savior in this passage. He shows the same loving-kindness and concern for the lost. He shows the same pity to John as he had afforded to the broken hearted Mary Magdalene in the garden, and the guilt-laden Apostle Peter in his message to the women- go tell the disciples and Peter-and to the unbelieving Thomas in the closed room. He extends that same nature of pity and comfort to the overwhelmed Apostle John as he calms his fears eliminating his worries of weakened senses.
II. As HE THAT WAS DEAD. The great Savior of the world confirms to his beloved friend that the one upon whom he cast his eyes was none other than the one whom he had watched die. It was not another like him; it was the same Jesus. It was comfort to John, for he knew that the death of Christ was the key to the atonement. Therefore, the only hope that John had of being in the presence of God worthily was through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ. It is imperative that John keep in mind the finished work of the Lord when seeing him in glory. For he would soon see him as a lamb slain from the foundation of the world. He is not now dead, but he was dead. He was not in a swoon, or a deep sleep, or a coma, he was genuinely dead. He was gloriously resurrected, and he will come again. This was that same Jesus!