December 23

Revelation 1:16-18 16In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. 17When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

According to early church records, the Romans attempted to boil John in oil. It just didn't seem to bother him, so they exiled him to an island. There he saw a vision of the Christ in all His glory. The last time John saw Jesus was at His ascension. The last time John saw Jesus in glory was on the Mount of Transfiguration. In this passage Jesus, in all His glory, from the right hand of the throne of God, revealed Himself to John.

John's reaction was the same as those in Scripture who had a revelation of glory. He fell on his face stunned and weakened. The Lord identified Himself with His familiar expression used throughout Scripture, "Do not be afraid." He says He is the first (alpha) and the last (omega), the Living One. He was dead and is alive forever and ever! He holds the keys of death and Hades, which were taken in His conquest of Satan.

This is the same glorious Christ our eyes will see when we pass from this life. There is no need to fear. He is the Victor over death and hell. He is alive forever, and has prepared the way for our reception into the presence of God. He has something to say to us, and that is why He has appeared to John. There are things in our individual and corporate lives that please Him, and some things that displease Him. The Spirit is still speaking to the churches. You don't need a revelation like this. Just open your Bible and your heart, and hear what He will say to you.

Consider: The sword from His mouth encourages and convicts. What am I in need of hearing today?