With the clamor of chaos in the marketplace, the church, the family, and just about every other sphere life we can imagine, it’s easy to lose sight of Who it is we serve. Now, I’m not denying the reality of tons of products claiming to show Him to us. Rather, I’m stating the unfortunate fact that either Jesus is absent or Jesus is commodified. And we are told: “Look, here He is!” or “See, over here!” But is He really there? And if He isn’t, then where is He?
Where are we to look?
In Revelation 1, John gives us the answer:
9 I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, 11 saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,”and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”
12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.
For years, I’ve overlooked the context in which John receives this revelation of the Lord, failing to ask this simple, yet profound, question:
What comes before John’s revelation of Christ?
And what is the answer?
The Word of God.
The entire revelation of Jesus Christ begins with the Word of God. John is in exile because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. John, in the Spirit, hears the Word of God. John turns to see the Voice that spoke to him.
John sees the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ.
“Simple enough,” you say. Yet, where we do you and I turn? Are we running after “visions” of Christ that are no visions at all? Where do we expect to see Christ? And what or Who do we expect to see? A divine ATM? A relationship guru? A pop-psychologist?
Who do we say that He, the Son of Man, is?
13 [...] in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; 15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; 16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. 1718 I And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.
We often, rightly, see the Lord’s omnipotence and glory as He stands before John, all the while neglecting one subtle detail.
The right hand that holds the seven stars – i.e. the seven angels of the seven churches over which Christ watches, through which He walks, and which He intensely watches and scrutinizes – is the same hand that is laid upon the fearful apostle’s shoulders. [Go ahead, read it again ;)]
Because Christ has overcome death, we too have overcome death. Because He is all powerful, upholding all things by the Word of His power, we can be comforted and not terrified.
Because we have His Word and His Spirit, we too can see Him as the conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah, and the gentle Lamb of God who washed us in His own blood (as John did.)
If we want to find Christ in the midst of our crises, we need to look no further than the Word of God.