Latest picture of Jesus.
The first chapter of the book of Revelation (the Apocalypse) unveils and reveals the latest, the most, and arguably the only physically descriptive picture of Jesus in the Bible. By inspiration, John records what he heard and saw:
- I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.
I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In 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.
Yes, this is Jesus as He is right now! We are not told here the meaning of the sword coming out of his mouth or why his hair is white and his eyes like blazing fire, etc. Nor are we told why a crown of thorns no longer encircles his head. But one thing is sure. He is no longer the Jesus of popular thought and tradition. He is that, but He is also now much more. Here He is pictured as the ascended, exalted, glorified, transformed, transfigured, transcendent, cosmic, and crowned Jesus of the Apocalypse, the contemporary Christ!
Grasping the full reality of this divinely revealed image of Jesus and knowing and serving Him as He is today, and as He requires, are essential prerequisites if we hope to hear the words someday, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21, 23). Anything less is less. But where is this image of Jesus being presented, nowadays? Where is this picture of the contemporary Christ hanging on a wall? Where is this present-day and pertinent perspective being taught, studied, and worshiped?
Since the time John saw Jesus like this over nineteen hundred years ago, this Jesus has not changed. Yes, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8). That is, He is the same in his Personhood and divinity—the second Person of the Trinity. But some theologians contend that what is meant by the word “yesterday” is that Jesus has never changed from his preexistence before creation. And that assertion is partially true. But a partial truth parading as a whole truth is a lie! The testimony of Scripture is, Jesus has changed—in some major ways—from his preexistent form, into a babe, into a boy, into a man, into a dead man, into a resurrected body, and onto being the ascended, exalted, glorified, transformed, transfigured, transcendent, cosmic, and crowned Lord of the Apocalypse. Another fact these theologians tend to overlook is, more than 12,000 literal “yesterdays” transpired between Jesus’ ascension and glorification in A.D. 30 (see Dan. 7:13-14) and the time of the writing of this verse in the book of Hebrews circa A.D. 65-67. Thus, we can both affirm that Jesus “is the same yesterday and today and forever” and yet He has changed.
So how did John respond after seeing and hearing Jesus this way in the Revelation? Remember, John had personally known and served Jesus during his earthly ministry, had stood at the foot of the cross, and even saw Jesus after his death in his post-resurrected form. Yet this Jesus of the Apocalypse was so different, so awesome, and so much greater than John had previously known that he reports, “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead” (Rev. 1:17a).
Ask yourself, how would you react if this Jesus suddenly appeared to you face-to-face, like this, and in this form? Well, if you have the eyes of faith—i.e., spiritual eyes to see, He just did. Otherwise, these words in the first chapter of the Revelation are only ink on a page. One of the blessings of the book of Revelation offers is for Jesus to appear to you, personally, face-to-face, here and now, as He is today, through these inspired words.
1 The Greater Jesus by John Noe