“Fear Not, I am the First and the Last”

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Sanctuary Beach, California

 

What would you do if you saw the Lord up close?  Would you run to him?  Would you bow down and worship him?  Would you fall down in fear?  John, the author of the Revelation, writes that in his vision from the Isle of Patmos, he saw Jesus and it terrified him.

As a boy, growing up on Fullerton Street on the west side of Detroit, I would talk to the Lord in the middle of the night as I made my way down the dark steps to the even darker front hallway and kitchen.  My mission then, as it still is now, was a search for a cold glass of water.  The whole way to the refrigerator I would talk to the Lord and ask the Lord to show himself to me.  I was terrified of the dark, but even more terrified of what I would do If the Lord popped up in the kitchen and engaged me in late night conversation.  The Lord never forced an encounter with me in the dark kitchen on Fullerton Street, and my faith has continued to increase.

The Book of Revelation is a mystery to many in today’s world.  However, during the time of John, and the first century church, the Revelation was quite clear.  I believe, as do many scholars, that John was writing a revelation he had received in a kind of code language that would be easily understood by Christians in his time who were persecuted under the authority of the Roman government.  The members of the early church knew exactly what John is talking about.  The Roman government did not know what he was talking about.  Perhaps his guards thought he was a nut.  John is the only apostle who is thought not to have been martyred.  Some think he survived being killed for his faith because he was in prison.  John tells us early on that he is imprisoned on the Island of Patmos.  He clearly states at the beginning who the revelation is intended – seven churches.

Revelation 1: I, John, your brother who share with you in Jesus the persecution and the kingdom and the patient endurance, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 I was in the spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet 11 saying, “Write in a book what you see and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamum, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.” [1]

In our focus verse for today, John speaks about being overwhelmed with fear when he sees Jesus face to face.  What would you do if you saw the Lord up close?  Would you run to him and embrace him, or would you fall down like John?  The Lord reaches out and touches John, talks to him and touches him:

 

Revelation 1: 17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he placed his right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last[2]

Take a look at John’s description of the Lord.  It is an awesome vision of the glory of God.  Again, I ask, what would you do if you saw a vision like the vision of John?

Revelation 1: 12 Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands I saw one like the Son of Man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash across his chest. 14 His head and his hair were white as white wool, white as snow; his eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined as in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and from his mouth came a sharp, two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining with full force. [3]

 

Questions for Reflection:

  1. What does this passage of scripture say to you about overcoming your fears?
  2. What does the image of Jesus being the “First and last” mean to you?

 

Prayer:

Lord, help me with my fears.  Grant me a new sense of self-confidence.  Remind me that you are the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end of all things.  Put your hand of reassurance upon me.  Wash me and make me clean.  Touch me and make me whole.  Speak to me and grant me your peace.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray.  Amen.

 

Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

Photo by Nicholas Hood III

Additional Prayers Photos and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/

 

[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Re 1:9–11). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Re 1:17). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[3] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Re 1:12–16). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.