Notes on the Apocalypse #4

I asked my good friend Stephen Burch to contribute a few posts to the “Notes on the Apocalypse” series here at Feeding on Christ. Picking up at the end of Revelation 1, Burch notes:

Everyone needs the gospel at every point in life. There is never a point in life when we graduate from the gospel. The Apostle John towards the end on his life in no exception. John was perhaps the holiest and most mature man on the planet. Think of John’s stellar life. He walked with Jesus in his earthly ministry. He was present when Jesus was transfigured. He witnessed the cross. He saw the risen Jesus. At Pentecost, John was clothed with power. He had done miracles, planted Church’s, written 4 books of the Bible and been instrumental in who knows how many people coming to know and be matured in Jesus. But, all this does not mean John has moved past his need for the gospel!

In Revelation chapter 1, John records an awesome vision of Jesus. But, before John could record this vision of Jesus, Jesus had to communicate the gospel to John. When John sees Jesus with eyes like a flame of fire, a sharp two-edged sword proceeding from His mouth, and a countenance like the sun, he is not filled with a perfect love that cast out fear, but fear itself. He is so afraid that he fell at Jesus’ feet as if dead. And before Jesus gives John his mission to write the vision, John needs to hear the good news of the gospel from Jesus. Jesus says, “do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” Jesus proclaims the good news to John. In Jesus’ words, we see the nuts and bolts of the gospel: don’t fear because of who Jesus is (the First and Last), what He’s done (died and rose again), Jesus’ position of never dying (I am alive for evermore) and authority (“I have the keys of Hades and Death”). Believer, when God is reveals Himself to you in perhaps a way you’ve never see Him before and fear, shame, and guilt arise as always you need the gospel: Do not be afraid because Jesus is God who died for your sins and arose so you can have true life. Your Saviour will never die so you are safe forever, and all authority is His so you don’t have to fear anything. Gospel application and trust always proceed gospel mission. Jesus preaches the gospel to John and then give him his mission of writing the vision (1:19).

This is not the only reason in the Apocalypse that we can see that John needs the gospel. In chapter 5 of Revelation he is weeping because he in not looking to Jesus, in 17:6 John marvels with great amazement at the Harlot, and in 19:7 John is rebuked for worshiping and angel. So, if the great apostle John who is afraid of Jesus, not looking to Jesus, Harlot marveling and angel worshiping needs the gospel at this point in his life, how much more do you?!?!?

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