February 07, 2024

“Do Not Be Afraid”

Revelation 1:17-20

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever!”

—  Revelation 1:17-18

Earlier in his life, John had spent three years with Jesus as a disciple in training. We might expect that John would recognize Jesus, run up to him, and embrace him. But something is clearly different about Jesus. The glorious presentation of the Son of Man so overwhelms John that he falls at Jesus’ fiery-bronze feet as though dead. But then he hears the familiar words of his Lord and Master: “Do not be afraid.” The loving Savior speaks comfort and assurance.

Jesus gives John an elaborate description of himself. What a way to build up John’s confidence and that of the churches! Jesus is the “First and the Last,” the “Living One,” who “was dead” but is “alive for ever and ever!” And there’s more: Jesus holds the keys to death and Hades, so they have no power over him or his followers.

Jesus then commands John to write to the seven churches that are represented by the lampstands. (And, to us today, those churches represent the whole church of Christ.) By sharing what he has “seen, what is now and what will take place later,” John will describe how Jesus is the reigning Lord of heaven and earth. Despite the churches’ strengths and weaknesses, Jesus is God. The powers of darkness will do their worst to destroy the church, but they will fail because Jesus is the living Lord.

Almighty King, you are the victor over death and the grave. Drive out our fear today. Amen.

About the author — Evan Heerema

Evan Heerema is a retired pastor who served churches in Washington state and in Michigan. He was also on the teaching staff at Kuyper College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for ten years. He and his wife are the parents of two daughters and the grandparents of two grandsons.

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