Tuesday, August 27

Do not be afraid

Scripture: Jeremiah 52, Psalm 143-44, Revelation 1

Revelation 1:17–18 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. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

Observation

The apostle John, exiled to the island of Patmos for his faith, has this remarkable vision of Jesus.  Verses 12-16 describe what John saw (how Jesus appeared to him) and then Jesus speaks.  His first words are “Do not be afraid.”  The vision itself must have been terrifying!  But so was the future.  Many Christians had died, and John was in exile potentially facing death.  The might of the empire seemed bent against the Christians.  Everything in this vision, starting with these words, is designed to dispel fear and inspire hope and confidence.  Jesus wins!  

Jesus is the First and the Last, the beginning and the end.  That means that history is marching toward Him.  Everything finds its consummation, its fulfillment in Him.  History doesn’t end in destruction and despair; it ends in Jesus.  Evil doesn’t triumph; Jesus does!  He is the End!  

Jesus is the Living One, who was dead but is alive for ever and ever.  He is not just a dead figure from history, but is the Living One!  He is alive forever!

Jesus holds the keys of death and Hades.  He has absolute authority over life and death, heaven and hell.  Some people mistakenly think that the the devil has the keys to hell and controls it.  But the devil is banished to hell by Jesus who has the keys and the authority.  

So…don’t fear!

Application

The future can be frightening—but we know Who holds the future.  Death is scary—but we know Who holds the keys of death.  Jesus was telling John—and us—that there is nothing to fear.  Nothing to fear from the future, nothing to fear from death—because Jesus is the First and Last, the Living One who holds the keys!

Even when you imagine the worst, Jesus is bigger.  He is the End!  Don’t be afraid.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for reassuring John and us that You have the last. word, that You hold the keys, and we have nothing to fear.