"Seeing Jesus Again"
Today we begin an overview of the Revelation. A revealing that Jesus gives to John for Christians to know what is to happen. As we open this book today, we will start by seeing Jesus again, but this time he looks very different.
Seeing Jesus Again
A. At the end of the ministry there were many days the disciples seemed to wonder what was going to happen next. Jesus called them back up to Galilee, to a mountain, and there he commissioned them to take the message to the world and make disciples in every nation.
B. Then they met Jesus one last time back outside of Jerusalem and told them that they would soon be baptized with the Holy Spirit. But the Apostles questioned Jesus about the coming of the kingdom of Israel. They wanted to know more about the time and what that kingdom would look like, but Jesus told them, “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons that the father has fixed by his own authority.” It was to be sufficient that the Holy Spirit would empower them. When Jesus had said these things he was caught up in a cloud and taken from their sight.
C. At that time two angels that appeared as men said to them, “Why do stand looking into heaven? This Jesus will come in the same way as you saw him go?”
D. About 10 days after that the Holy Spirit did come upon them in power. It was on a religious holy day – the Day of Pentecost. In that power Jesus was preached and about 3000 souls were added to their number – the church began.
E. The longer Jesus waited, the more the church grew. The apostles did what was commanded and began to teach in Jerusalem, Samaria and the rest of the world. Paul joined their number as an Apostle and with his ministry much of the northern Mediterranean world heard about Jesus. Letters were being circulated by the Apostles as to how Christians were to live and the church was to act and function within society. It became evident that Jesus was not coming back as quickly as some thought.
I. Introduction to Revelation
A. Many believe that the last Apostle to die was John. John had a close relationship to Jesus and was a part of several inner circle activities during the ministry, but now he was alone. Many believe he was an old man when he wrote his three letters and his gospel. Many believe that John wrote down what we call the book of Revelation near the end of the first century. It appears that after John was taken by the Spirit into the Spirit world, he wrote what he saw and what he was told to share. The apocalypse, the Revelation, the revealing that many at that time needed to hear.
B. The opening words were read to us in which John called this a letter, not from him, but a revelation of Jesus which was given to him to share with seven churches in Asia.
C. A blessing was given to all who would read aloud the words of the prophecy and keep what was written in it, for the time of the fulfillment soon to take place for the time was near. How you study and interpret John’s writing is based upon teachings you have been raised with. I seek to see the writing as a whole story with different parts helping me to understand different aspects of trails that people face. I don’t believe in multiple raptures or a physical millennial binding of Satan or reigning of Jesus on this earth. For me, the rest of scripture has to be included in “end time” understanding.
D. So what I want to do this summer is take a look at the bigger picture of this book more than a verse by verse sermon. I want us to see Jesus in a powerful way, to be challenged to hear the Spirit’s teaching to the church, to open up this book and know the pain of those who have been martyred and the call for justice against evil. Forget about the controversies of the writing and let God reveal to us that which we need to know and understand right now.
E. So today we want to take a new look at Jesus to see him in his glory as John did in the Spirit and to come away knowing the power of God is at work right now in power and dominion.
II. The Different Jesus
A. John beings by making this revelation specific. John is writing this revelation to seven churches in Asia (vs 4). The last time John saw Jesus he was ascending into heaven in a cloud. He looked like a man, he had talked like a human, yet he was leaving in a power that death no longer held over him. Jesus was alive and going to be with the Father.
B. Now, John speaks directly to them (vs 9-11). As powerful as this revelation is for us today, it was even greater to those Christians in those churches. It was copied and circulated, because it had meaning to more than just those seven churches. The Holy Spirit has made sure it has remained for us today, because it has meaning to you.
C. John knew the physical Jesus, but I want you to hear what John saw (vs. 12-16). There are many who focus on each aspect of the one John saw, but just allow the vision to be placed in your mind’s eye. How do you respond to such a being? How do you behave when you see a voice coming from a being that has a gold sash, eyes like fire, feet like bronze and a voice like the roar of many waters? Forget about the interpretation and see this one standing before John and understand that John saw this being holding seven starts and two-edged sword at his mouth and his face shining as bright as the sun.
D. I want you to take that image with you today because that is the Jesus you and I call Lord. That is our savior that John saw. He didn’t recall the physical Jesus that went up in a cloud, but the powerful Jesus that is conqueror over all that we fear.
E. John’s reaction is much like ours (vs 17). The day Jesus rose up from the grave he appeared Mary Magdalene and told her to tell the disciples that he was ascending to his father and their father, to his God and their God. When he saw the disciples they were filled with fear, but he offered them peace. Now, John is filled with fear before this one, but the being speaks (vs 17b-20).
A. So is this message from this great being worth listening to? Will you walk with me this summer through what our Lord revealed to John who wrote down for us what was soon to take place? I hope you will.
B. Jesus told John that he, Jesus, was the “first and the last,” “the living one who had once died but is alive forevermore,” the one who holds the keys of death and Hades. John wrote what Jesus has done is doing (vs 5b-7).
C. If you are need of being set free from your sins, of belonging to the kingdom of God, then come as we stand and sing.
Because of Jesus,
Jeffrey Dillinger, minister