One of the great joys of my ministry life is the opportunity I’ve had to work with my intern, Rebecca Pickard! Rebecca has incredible leadership skills and writing skills so I’ve asked her to write a guest blog for me this week!~ I know you’ll enjoy her thoughts!
I love star-gazing, in theory. But I live in a small city, which means that the best I usually can do is pick out the Big Dipper. The light pollution isn’t as bad as some cities, but it still keeps me from seeing my favorite constellation, the W-shaped Cassiopeia.
Despite the struggle to clearly see the majesty of the stars, I still look up. My relationship with the stars is often like my relationship with Jesus: I can’t always see his full majesty, but I am still given the gift of knowing him.
In Revelation 1, John is given a startling image of his best friend. Jesus stands before him dressed in glorious robes, with hair “white as snow” and eyes “like blazing fire.” His feet shine like molten bronze, his voice sounds like “rushing water,” he holds seven stars in his hands, and to top it all off, “coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword.” John concludes by saying that Jesus’ “face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance” (Revelation 1:12-16).
John tells us, “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead” (Revelation 1:17). Think about that. John had spent years with Jesus, eating with him, talking with him, learning from him. He was called “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23). He knew Jesus better than most people ever will. And yet when he was presented with Jesus in his heavenly glory, he fell flat on his face!
No matter how well I know Jesus in this life, there will be something new and terrifying about meeting him in Heaven. That is why the next part of the passage is so important—after seeing John fall, Jesus “placed his right hand on [John] and said: ‘Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever!’” (John 1:17-18). He bent down, touched John, and comforted him.
Even when Jesus was totally glorified in Heaven, he was still the same friend that John had known way back in Judea. Jesus connected with John again through touch and language—both intimately human actions.
Yet even in his humanity, Jesus did not deny his divinity. He reminds John, “I am the First and the Last.” This statement emphasizes his majesty, his sovereignty, his omnipotence. Jesus was before all things, he is the end of all things, and he sustains all things. But Jesus doesn’t say this from some far-off throne; he says this while bending down and touching his friend.
That is the wonderful, miraculous, impossible gift that we have been given in Jesus. We are able to know the Lord of the universe, the Creator God, in an intimate and personal way. God reaches down to us, touches us, and gives us hope in him, all without compromising his holiness and majesty!
In Heaven, we will be will be able to touch him, to laugh with him, to hold his hand. We will see his glory without the “light pollution” of sin blocking our eyes. And we can be assured that, even in our new perspective, he is the same Jesus that we know through the Word. He is the same Jesus that is our friend through the hard times. And he is the same Jesus that will resurrect us, just like he himself was resurrected. He won’t have changed. We will have.