It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit. Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast. It said, “Write in a book everything you see, and send it to the seven churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.”
When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance.
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. (Revelation 1:10-17 NLT)
John saw Jesus, and he immediately dropped to the ground, as though he had died. This is the same Jesus the world celebrated a few weeks ago.
Isn’t it kind of odd? Most people don’t have any problem thinking about a cute little baby lying in a horse trough, surrounded by lowing cattle, bleating sheep, a drummer boy, an assortment of angels, shepherds, and wise men; and of course Mary and Joseph.
Problems begin as the cute little kid starts to grow up! Know what I mean?
The same little boy whose birth was celebrated about eighteen days ago is the same one who appeared to John; the one who stood in the midst of the lamp stands holding seven stars in his hand.
Jesus fulfilled his ministry as the seeking savior, and suffering servant. He’s outgrown the swaddling clothes and the binkie! Oh, he’s still surrounded by angels, but things have changed. Time has marched on. And Jesus is about to make another appearance.
He stood next to John and explained his mission. He was inspecting the churches and the stars. The stars he referred to were actually the messengers to the churches; those who had the word to give to those local churches. Today we’d see them as pastors, teachers, and even apostles, prophets, and evangelists.
Try and imagine what the stars thought when Jesus gave them their assignment. Sure a whole lot different than goo-goos and ga-ga’s. Some were words of praise and commendation, others of judgment with a tone of “or else” thrown in.
Jesus is a loving Lord, but he’s also a very serious savior. And when the scripture tells us to look unto Jesus, it’s not referring to the baby boy.
Ministry changes as one grows up. It did for our Lord, and it does for us. Focus changes, vocabulary changes, and responsibility changes.
When I was a “baby” Christian I did things and said things that only demonstrated my immaturity. And the Lord, and some others, let me get by with it.
Not so, today!
And when Jesus criticized his churches, he wasn’t speaking to them like they were little kids who didn’t know how to act. He was getting on their case because they should have known better!
Everyone will one day see Jesus face to face. I believe it will be hard to look at him, even for someone who’s born again. It was for John.
But right now, I can see Jesus standing in the midst of today’s churches. Dressed in white, eyes of fire, and a sharp two-edged sword coming from his mouth. Calling to his church. Calling to you and I.
The judge is standing at the door. He’s given his messengers a word that we all must hear. Unfortunately, not everyone will. But those who are listening, who are paying attention, who have “ears to hear” will hear and be prepared for what comes next.
You see, some of the angels who were there at the manger scene, were there with the disciples when Jesus ascended to Heaven forty days after his resurrection.
They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11 NKJV)
This same Jesus, whose voice is like the sound of many waters. He will say with a shout, “Come up here!” And those who are listening will arise and meet him in the air.
This same, grown up, glorified Savior, Lord, and Judge.