Overcoming a major misconception.
The fact remains, if you really want to know and follow Jesus as He is today—what He’s like and what He is doing—you must come, expectantly, to the last book of the Bible. The book of Revelation is the climax, the completion, the pinnacle of God’s progressive revelation to humankind. It is the only source that unveils and reveals Jesus in his present-day, pertinent, and full exalted, glorified, transformed, transfigured, and transcendent reality. This is the Jesus of the Apocalypse, the contemporary Christ, and a much greater Jesus than most of us have been led to believe! This is the Jesus each of us, today, needs to meet, know, and take seriously.
Make no mistake, this is the living and active Jesus of today who is in the world and in our midst and functions in a much greater manner and in much broader capacities than He did during his earthly ministry and than most of us have been led to believe. And yet, this is the same Jesus Who was born of a virgin, raised as a boy, ministered throughout Judea, and died on a cross. Without this historical Jesus we would still be lost in our sins (1 Cor. 15:17). So we must stay grounded in this Jesus who was “made a little lower than the angels” (Heb. 2:7, 9) and “made Himself nothing, taking the very nature [form] of a servant, being made in human likeness” (Phil. 2:7).
But we also must understand that this same Jesus is no longer confined in an earthly human body. Nowadays, He is both the same and a greater Jesus. Why is this so? It is because after his birth, earthly life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, “God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:8-11; also Eph. 1:20-23). “So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs” (Heb. 1:4).
Consequently, we must also recognize that the divinely determined mission of Jesus—his leaving heaven, coming to earth, and going back to heaven—was a change in his bodily form and ministerial capacity. Therefore, Revelation’s last revealed form of Jesus is a more complex Jesus than during his earthly ministry. Whether you agreed or disagreed that this same Jesus has changed somehow—from before creation to cradle to cross to coronation—one thing perhaps we can agree upon now is this Jesus today is a much greater Jesus than has been and is generally being presented, preached, and perceived in most churches.
In our opinion, the tragedy today is many people in most churches miss this point. Hence, they don’t know Jesus in the greater way the Revelation unveils and reveals Him. This deficiency accounts for much of the lack of faith, power, and effectiveness in the Church today. Yet every year we joyously and magnificently present to Christians and non-Christians, alike, the image of Jesus as a baby—so tiny, so adorable, and so helpless. Frankly put, fixating on and perpetuating this 2,000-year-old image of the historical Jesus, or any image of Him during his earthly life, is, at best, a partial and out-dated view.
1 The Greater Jesus by John Noe