The Resurrection in Revelation 1
Every Easter, when it is normal and proper to especially focus on Bible accounts concerning the resurrection of Christ, if it is my turn to teach Sunday school, I do my best to focus on how whatever book of the Bible we are studying points to the cruciality of the resurrection. So, instead of turning to the Gospel accounts tomorrow, we will be looking at the resurrection of Christ as it is seen in Revelation 1.
At the end of verse 1, John is referred to as "his servant;" the "his" in this phrase seems to refer to "Jesus Christ's" as in Jude 1. This title for John presupposes the resurrection as you cannot be the servant of a dead person.
In verse 5, one of the titles for Christ is "the firstborn from the dead." This title for the Lord directly points to His resurrection. This title for Christ is also found in Colossians 1:18, and so it seems to have been a commonly known title among Jesus' earliest followers.
The title "ruler," the present-tense verb "loves," and the promise of the Second Coming may be seen as implying the resurrection, but (of course) the most obvious indication of the resurrection is the fact that-- as recorded in Revelation 1-- the living Lord Jesus actually shows up and speaks with John! Jesus-- the one "like a son of man"-- declares Himself to be, "the Living One," going on to say, "I was dead-- but look!-- I am living from forever into forever" (verse 18). In giving a certain place (“Patmos”) and time (“the Lord’s Day”) for his vision, John seems to be once again giving a literal, eyewitness testimony as he did in his Gospel account (John 19:35; 21:24) and in his first epistle (1 John 1:1). Moreover, John does not only see the resurrected, glorified Christ, but he actually experiences physical contact with Him. Observe verse 17: "And when I saw him, I fell before his feet like a dead man, and he placed his right hand on me." Having encountered deity, John has the natural reaction of overwhelming terror (see Isaiah 6:1-5). But Jesus comforts John and raises him up.
Application: when we truly consider the holiness of the Lord (and our sin in light of His holiness) we count ourselves as dead; the one who died for our sins and was raised to life for our justification raises us up and gives us life in Him.
Labels: Bible study