Who are we?

In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Friday, 13 January 2017

The description of Jesus (2) (Rev. 1:12-16)

In yesterday’s reading we notice some of the details that John mentioned in his description of Jesus. We can resume with what John says in verse 16 where he points out that Jesus was holding seven stars in his right hand. He explains to John that each star represents an angel connected to each of the seven churches. 

Some suggest that the angels as the messengers who will take the letters to their respective destinations. In saying that they are in his right hand, Jesus is assuring John that the messages will get to their destination – a right hand was a place of power and was a sign of guidance. John may have wondered how he could get his messages from Patmos to the churches. Jesus informs John that the messages would reach their destinations.

Next, Jesus is described as having a sharp sword coming from his mouth. On several occasions, the Bible or the Word of God is likened to a sharp sword. Paul informed the Thessalonians that when Jesus returns, one of his actions will be to slay the man of sin by the sword of his mouth. The messages that Jesus is going to send will have a powerful edge to some of them because he has found evidence that he will need to wield his sword.

The final detail that John mentions is the brightness of the face of Jesus. John, of course, had seen this feature literally when Jesus was glorified on the Mount of Transfiguration. Here, John says that Jesus will be like the noon-day sun. On the Mount of Transfiguration, the shining of his face had been a blessing because it revealed that he was divine. On this second occasion, I suspect the shining of the face indicates judgement. After all, it is not good for a person to be unprotected against the brightness of the midday sun.

What else can we say about this vision of Jesus? First, the vision tells us that Jesus is an awesome figure. ‘Awesome’ is one of abused words of our day – but it is a word that truly describes Jesus. Moreover, the vision informs us that Jesus is the Assessor of his churches and there is no reason to limit this activity to the seven churches of Asia. He assesses our churches as well.

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