The Lord turns His eyes towards us, not to destroy us but to purify us so that we to shine with His light.
I have been struck and blessed by the Apostle John’s vision of the Lord Jesus in Revelation 1. He was in prison on the island of Patmos because of the Gospel, knowing that the churches he loved and cared for were increasingly being persecuted. He was in his mid-eighties, in Patmos because the Roman government maintained rock quarries there to which criminals and troublemakers were sent. Earlier on, the Emperor Nero was feeding Christians to the lions.
Source: The Baptist Union
Peter and Paul were crucified during that period, but under Emperor Domitian things got even worse. He was a very insecure man who demanded that all his subjects throughout the Empire worshipped him as Lord and God; ‘go to the temple, take a pinch of incense, cast it on the altar and say, Caesar is Lord’, he instructed them. This was impossible for John, for him, there was only one Lord, only one Person who could demand total allegiance, and for this he was considered to be a threat to Rome. While in Patmos Domitian’s reign, terror intensified for the churches. John knew that believers were confused, discouraged and afraid, with the pressure to conform to the Emperor’s edict. Many Christians were harassed by soldiers, losing their businesses and homes with many being murdered. Heresy and immorality were also gaining footholds in a number of congregations.
Throughout this turmoil John remained in the Spirit and God’s response was to give him a powerful vision of the Lord Jesus. This wasn’t an inner mystical experience, John ‘heard’ a voice as clear and resounding as a trumpet, he ‘saw’ the Lord, and the Lord ‘laid’ His right hand on John. John knew the Lord; he had lived with Him some years before. John sees the Lord walking among the churches he was concerned about and as the Lord delivers the messages, John hears seven times the words, ‘I know…’. The risen and living Jesus knew what was happening among them, their hard work, struggles, fears, pain and emptiness. In exactly the same way, the Lord is moving amongst us right now. He isn’t distant or withdrawn since His ascension, He is present amongst every congregation.
The whole description is rich in meaning but I would like to draw your attention to the fact that in Revelation 1:16 ‘the Lord’s face was ‘like the sun shining in all its brilliance’, and it was shining on John! In the Old Testament that is the greatest blessing imaginable. (Numbers 6:25; Psalm 4:6 and Psalm 67:1). The Lord turns His eyes towards us, not to destroy us but to purify us so that we too shine with His light. John says that when he saw the Lord, he fell down at His feet, as good as dead. Do we ever felt like falling down at the feet of Jesus?
The Lord laid His right hand on John, He isn’t distant, He is near. He said in Revelation 1:17-18 ‘….Do not be afraid, I am the First and the Last. I 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’. The Lord faced the greatest enemy there is. On the cross He allowed all the powers that threaten to overcome us have their unrestrained way with Him. He allowed death to take him captive and then came out of the prison carrying away the keys.
So, in these uncertain times let’s remember who holds the keys, to health, to provision of every kind, to death, to the unseen world and let us to turn our eyes on Jesus.Author: Betty Plumb
May God bless and enrich your life
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