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Jack Graham - Revealing Jesus

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    Jack Graham - Revealing Jesus
TOPICS: All Things New, Book of Revelation, End times

Take your Bibles and turn to Revelation chapter 1, and the title of today's message is "Revealing Jesus". You will never understand the book of Revelation until you know Jesus, until Jesus is revealed. And the Revelation of Jesus Christ is the uncovering, the unveiling of Jesus. And so through and through, all the way from begin to end in the book of Revelation, it's all about Jesus, a vision of Him and the victory that we have in Him. Now, we are living in exciting, extraordinary days in human history. Extraordinary in the sense that we know something big is about to happen and is happening in our world. The culmination of the signs of the time in our own generation make it clear to us that we truly are living at the End of Days. And at the end of days we can expect more and more the return of Jesus. It will be the most epic event in all of human history when Jesus comes back and Every eye will see Him.

Look at it in verse 7: "Behold, he is coming with the clouds", meaning he's coming in the skies, visibly, victoriously. He Himself, this same Jesus will come again; He's coming with the clouds; He's coming in the skies. But not only in the skies but the clouds are a reference, an allusion to the clouds of glory, the Shekinah presence and glory of God; the same cloud of glory that led the children of Israel throughout the wilderness experience, that Shekinah glory upon the Temple, the holiest of holy place. He's coming in the clouds, "and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him", that is, the enemies of Christ, "and all the tribes", the nations of earth, "will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen".

It's a sobering thought that on that day every eye will see Him. It is a startling prospect that Jesus is coming again, and when He comes He will unveil not because of what He was only, but because of who He is now! And what we're going to do in this passage of Scripture in the Revelation is to see this Jesus revealed: who He is and how He is coming again! John is the human author of the Revelation. It has been sixty years since John the disciple had seen Jesus after the resurrection and ascension. He's now 90 plus years of age. You would think it was time to check into the retirement home and have a nice rocking chair into heaven. But not true for John. John was exiled and banished and persecuted for his faith, for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. And on this isle of Patmos that we talked about it was one of extreme depravation and desperation, of pain and alienation and separation from friends.

And so this is why when John introduces himself in verse 9, it says: "I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus". I love the humility of John. He could have said, "John the apostle, John the elder"! But he said, "John, your brother". Brother John, your partner in suffering and in tribulation. You know, Christianity is not immunity from trials, tribulation, suffering, struggles in life, extreme disappointments. It wasn't for John. This faithful man of God, this courageous soldier of the cross; and yet at the end he's suffering. After all of these years of serving Christ, he is in pain; he's in trouble on Patmos.

Maybe you've discovered that you're on a personal Patmos journey, that you are lonely and limited and isolated and cut-off, suffering in some way. You may be on a personal Patmos but remember this, it's not where you are but Whose you are that matters the most. It's not where you are; it's Whose you are. And if you belong to Jesus you're in His love and in His grace. This changes everything. It changes our perspective, doesn't it? Even when we're in pain on Patmos we see Jesus. In verse 11 Jesus says to John, "Write". God is about to unveil the future and a greater vision of Jesus which we need today. We're about to see a portrait of Christ like few have ever seen. John saw it and he uses symbols and signs to illustrate it because this is describing the indescribable. The words that we're about to read in this revelation, it is the only physical description of Jesus that we have in the Bible.

What do you think Jesus looks like? What does He look like? What's your picture of Jesus? There's a lot of distorted pictures of Jesus today in peoples' minds. There's the politically correct Jesus, there the soft sentimental Jesus, the mild-mannered Jesus telling people to be more mild-mannered, there's hippy Jesus the revolutionary. Somebody had a shirt on the other day I saw, "Jesus is my Homeboy". I was looking on a twitter feed today; someone had tweeted some twitter feed that said, it's called "Hood, Jesus, Yo". Hood Jesus! Well, while I appreciate people trying to connect Jesus to the culture, this is all the Christ of imagination, not the Christ of Revelation. I tell you when you stand before Jesus, you won't be saying "Hood Jesus, yo" Yo! You might say whoa, but you ain't gonna say "yo" when you see Jesus!

And so that's why John used signs and symbols to describe. All the Revelation there are numbers, there are signs, there's symbols illustrative of these great spiritual truths because signs and symbols can pass through generations while word can even change, the formation of words. Signs and symbols speak in a vivid illustrative way, but it all points to this one truth: that Jesus is Lord, that Jesus is risen and reigning and ruling and returning. So we have this physical description of Jesus as John saw Him that day. First, in verse 13, look at it: "and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man", now he knew it was Jesus. He saw something of His humanity but this was different, "clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest".

What does this mean? A long robe and a golden sash-this is the signature of a king. This speaks of the sovereignty of Jesus, the royalty of Jesus! When our Lord died on a cross they stripped Him naked to die ashamed before a world, bearing the sins of mankind, naked and ashamed on a cross. They gambled at the foot of the cross for the only robe that He had! But when Jesus returns He's robed like a king, riding on the clouds of glory! He came the first time to a cross, but when He comes again, He's coming to a coronation! When He came in His first appearance He came to a tree to die on a cross for the sins of the world. But when He comes again He's coming to a throne to rule and to reign! He's coming! Not as Redeemer this time, but as Ruler forever! So He is robed like royalty with a golden sash across this chest.

This also speaks of judgment. A judge would dress in this manner in the ancient world and so John sees the sovereign Savior Judge here, because "At the name of Jesus every knee and every nation will bow and confess that He is Lord to the glory of God". John 5:22, Jesus Himself said, "All judgment is given to the Son". This is Judge Jesus! And the One who died to save you, the One who died to deliver you from death and judgment will ultimately be your judge if you do not receive Him. If you reject Him you will one day stand in judgment. He stood in judgment before Pilate, but when He comes again, Pilate and all others like him will stand in judgment before Jesus. So we see His sovereignty. We also see His purity.

Look again in chapter 1 in verse 14: "The hairs of his head were white", literally bright; white bright, "like white wool, like snow". This speaks of the pure holiness of the Lord Jesus. Isaiah the prophet said, Isaiah 1:18, "Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though red like crimson, they shall be of wool". What a beautiful picture of what Christ does for us when He cleanses us from sin, covers our sins and makes us white as snow in Him. Well, Jesus is coming with this symbol of purity, of this white hair. He never sinned. He is holy, holy, holy. Not "Hood yo, Savior" but Holy Savior! "The Ancient of Days" as described by Daniel the prophet in Daniel 7:9. "The Ancient of Days", referring to the eternal One, the One who transcends time and eternity!

Think about the head of Jesus on earth. He said, "The Son of Man does not have a place to lay His head". When He went to the cross they plucked out His beard and His hair, His brow was covered with a crown of thorns, His hair coagulated with blood! He was beaten and bludgeoned! The precious face of our Lord Jesus Christ, what the Scripture says was an unrecognized one! He was beastly, ghastly in His appearance! The head of the Lord Jesus! He bowed that head when He died and gave up His Spirit. But when He comes again, the glorious head of His church, the glorious head of His body, the glorious head our Savior and God will be holy, His hair white as snow. Bright white, shining like the sun! He is pure and holy!

But not only the sovereignty and the purity of Jesus, but the last part of verse 14 says that: "His eyes were like a flame of fire". Laser-like, penetrating eyes, purifying eyes, looking deep into the recesses of our souls. When Jesus walked on the earth it's said of Him that He knew what was in man because He looks right into our hearts. So there's no hiding from Him. Every secret sin He knows. The things that we put behind closed door (we think) and shut them, He sees. There's no running, there's no hiding from the gaze of God! That's the omniscience of Jesus, the character of God. That may be frightening to you, to some of us who says, "I don't want Him knowing what I've been doing". But He does.

But think about it. It's also a great encouragement to us, that Jesus sees and knows not just the bad stuff, but He knows the good stuff. He knows when you gave a cup of cold water, nobody else noticed it, but you served someone, blessed someone. Jesus saw that. He knows when you've shared a witness for Christ when it was difficult and hard, and nobody's clap, slapping you on the back or clapping their hands for you but Jesus knows and He sees it; He knows the best about you. He knows what you can become and He sees all of this. It's especially encouraging to know that He sees it all. The infallible gaze of God. Think about the eyes of Jesus. Those eyes that wept at the tomb of His friend Lazarus' grave. Poured out copious tears as He wept over the city of Jerusalem! Sweat drops of blood and poured out tears at Gethsemane as He surrendered His will to the will of the Father to go to the cross.

Think about His eyes that day when He walked through Jericho and He looked way up in a tree, way up in the balcony and He saw a wee little man. Nobody else cared about Zacchaeus. Nobody else paid any attention to Zacchaeus. In fact, they hated him; ostracized him. But Jesus looked way up into the top of a tree and He said, "Zacchaeus, I see you. Come down, because I want to get to know you and you get to know Me". The eyes of Jesus! He sees and knows! He's here today! He knows your name! He knows your need! Why? Because He has eyes of fire that penetrate into our life. He sees everything. But not only that, look at verse 15: We see His authority in verse 15 for it speaks there of: "his feet like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace".

Feet like burnished bronze! Fiery feet like brass. This speaks of judgment, of course. Judgment! Brass! He is treading underfoot the grapes of wrath! The judgment of Jesus! His feet are powerful and moving! Jesus is on the move! And nothing will stop Him! Think about the feet of Jesus. The disciples followed His feet as He walked the dusty trails of Galilee, and even as He walked on water. I think about His feet when Mary of Bethany anointed His feet and worshipped at the feet of Jesus. That's a wonderful place to be, at the feet of Jesus. I think about those feet that walked to Calvary, carried the cross. His feet that were pierced and nailed to the Roman cross.

I think about His feet that walked out of the tomb! His feet that ascended on high. His feet that will one day stand again on the Mount of Olives when He reigns and rules! His feet there speak of His authority, His power! His feet of brass! All hell cannot stop Him! He's bringing all things under His feet! Then we see His majesty in verse 15. I see His majesty in this voice that John hears, that we hear in the Scripture here. "His voice was like the roar of many waters". Later on, we're told that this same voice. That there is the Word of the Living God! His voice like the voice of many waters, "the roar of many waters", in verse 16, "from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, His voice". His word. At the sound of His voice.

The Bible says every mouth will be stopped, silent! No more excuses, no more rationalizations, no more second chances! If you think that you're going to get to the judgment bar of God and talk your way in, there will be no talking there! The only advocate that we have is Jesus! And if you know Jesus then at the judgment then you will be saved, because we are judged already in Christ and we've been set free. But on that day there's no more chances. Say, if I ask you do you know for certain that if you were to die today that you would go to heaven, you say, "Well, I don't know but when I get there we'll sort it out". No, too late! Too late!

2 Corinthians 6:2, "Today is the day of salvation; now is the accepted time". Listen to me! If you want to be saved, Jesus is speaking to you now! He is softly and tenderly calling today. The still small voice, the word that is echoing in your heart, that's Jesus, His Spirit is inviting you! He says, Matthew 11:28, "Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest", rest for your souls! Listen to the voice of Jesus! Because when He comes on this day, there'll be no more speaking, just a thunderous roar of the voice of Jesus. Again, this is all illustrative of who He is and the power in which He speaks. One final thing, and that is His beauty.

Verse 16, it says: "In his right hand, the seven stars, and from his mouth the two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength". Love that! His countenance is aglow, shining like the sun. I love Psalm 84:11, describing our God. God is often described in the Old Testament as the sun, the "Sun of righteousness with healing in His wings". Psalms 84:11 says, "The Lord God is a sun and a shield; He gives grace and glory, and no good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly". Great verse! God is the Sun, Jesus is God. His face is shining like the sun, reflecting His character, His presence is heaven! What makes heaven, heaven, what makes glory, glory is the presence of Jesus! The face of Jesus. And all my life I've imagined what He may look like. But one day we will see Him face to face. And His face will be shining beautifully, brilliantly like the sun.

So what do you suppose happened here? John tells us what happened. Verse 17: "When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead". But John feels something on his shoulder, and it's a nail-scarred hand. He says, "John, don't be afraid. I'm the First and the Last. You don't need to fear death, you don't need to fear anything because I've got you". Doesn't matter where you are, it's Whose you are. And He lifted him up and He gave him an assignment, he said, "Write". And then when he writes, he writes of those things which are to come.

Here's what I want you to take away from this message. If you know Jesus, elevate your understanding of who He is! His greatness and His glory! Celebrate His goodness in your life! His grace that would reach down and touch you though you were a dead man, dead in trespasses and sin, to lift you up. You can sing He touched me! You say, "Well, I'm too far down; I'm too far gone". Jesus touched the lepers and made them whole, and He'll touch you and transform your life. And He will lift you and put you on your feet. But the exaltation and the glorification of Christ that we see here should be our anticipation of what is yet to come when we see Him face to face! Do you know this Jesus? Have you received Him? Are you following Him? Are you ready for Him to come?
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