And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And having turned I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the candlesticks one like unto a son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about at the breasts with a golden girdle. And his head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto burnished brass, as if it had been refined in a furnace; and his voice as the voice of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth proceeded a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength (Revelation 1:12-16).
Stop for just a moment and picture Jesus in your own mind.
Odds are your mental picture is highly influenced by one of two cultural presentations: a picture of Jesus suffering on a cross, or a picture of Jesus as a gentle, mild shepherd, either present with sheep or children.
We confess that we do not really know what Jesus would have looked like, save that He probably looked little like the pictures made of Him. Regardless, most of our pictures of Him involve moments in His life and the qualities He espoused in life.
Yet Jesus is still alive, and is now Lord (Matthew 28:18). Few, if any, when considering Jesus, would think about Him as John describes Him in Revelation.
John, in his vision, sees one “like a son of man,” with a long robe and a golden sash. His hair is snow white and like wool. His eyes are fiery, His feet are as refined bronze, from His mouth comes a two-edged sword, and His face shines as light.
It is no wonder that John falls before Jesus as one dead (Revelation 1:17)! This presentation of Jesus is quite awe-inspiring. Granted, the picture represents Jesus as the Ancient of Days (cf. Daniel 7), that is, God, who is holy and pure, the light of the world, and His word as the two-edged sword (John 1, Hebrews 4:12).
This is the picture of Jesus today: the most holy and pure God whose Word can give life or can kill. If we are His servants, we can trust in Him and have no fear (cf. Revelation 1:17). If He is for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31-39)?
Let none be deceived: Jesus is not some absentee landlord. He moves in the midst of His churches (cf. Revelation 1:12, 20). He knows what goes on (cf. Revelation 2:2, 2:9, 2:13, etc.). He is there, and He is watching.
When we think in our minds about Jesus, there are times to think about Jesus the Good Shepherd, and Jesus agonizing on the cross. But it is good to also think about Jesus as the Lord of glory, in the midst of His church, a powerful and awesome sight to behold!
Let us serve our Lord and God!
Ethan R. Longhenry