When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave. Revelation 1: 17 – 18 (NLT)
To describe yourself as ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’ you are either the biggest ‘chancer’ going, or else unshakable in who you are – yet this is how John describes himself when writing his gospel. In fact there are many accounts of John who is seen at the side of Jesus at some of His most significant milestones of his life and ministry.
Fast forward to the end of John’s life and we find him as the last surviving of the original disciples, all of whom have been martyred for their faith. John confessed that Jesus is Lord and Caesar is not, which is why he was exiled to the prison island of Patmos and it’s while he is in isolation, cut off from the world and desperately alone that he receives this revelation from Jesus.
I’m fascinated at this reunion of two very close friends. John’s personal circumstances are dire: some scholars believe the Roman’s tried to kill him by placing him in burning oil, prior to his exile. Then he sees his great friend, but not as he knew Him while as a man, walking the earth.
At first glance John is terrified: “When I saw him, I feel at his feet as if I were dead.” Note, we don’t hear of John’s earthly circumstances changing, we don’t learn that he was healed or set free from prison. But what happens next is everything: John receives a fresh revelation of who Jesus is: “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look – I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.”
Today – regardless of circumstances or the world around you; as you read these verses over and over again let the Holy Spirit reveal Jesus, in the core of your soul.
Lord, remind me today of Who You truly are: You are the First and the Last – the living one. You died in my place but are alive forever and ever! Reveal Yourself in and through me to the world around me, let this land have a fresh revelation of Jesus! Amen