Revelation 1:1 “The revelation of Jesus Christ“
Jesus is the great revealer. If it weren’t for Jesus, we wouldn’t know God. We could know about God through general revelation, but we would not know him personally. We would not know that He is one God, three Persons. We wouldn’t know that at the heart of the very nature of God is intimate, tri-personal relationship. Jesus reveals that to us.
Jesus not only reveals God in his divinity, he also reveals God’s original intentions for humanity. Jesus is fully God and fully man. Do you want to know what God looks like? Look to Jesus. Do you want to know what humanity should look like? Look to Jesus. He is the image after which all humans were created. He is the prototype—the real Adam. Jesus is the promise of what you and I can become: completely self-less and full of perfect love that is the outflow of union with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
In this first verse of the Revelation, Jesus is not revealing the nature of God or God’s intentions for humanity, however, he is revealing the things that must soon take place.
Jesus does not leave us in the dark when we are being persecuted for our faithfulness to Him. We know from later portions of this letter that John is writing to the churches in Asia who are undergoing persecution. God does not remain silent when his church is being persecuted. He speaks. He reveals. He comforts the church by revealing to them the assurance of their destiny and God’s full control over the events of the world.
The “catholic” (i.e., “universal”) church comprises two parts: (1) the church militant and (2) the church triumphant. The church triumphant are the saints who have gone before who are now in heaven with Christ awaiting the consummation of the Kingdom of God. The church militant are faithful believers today who, in following the example of Christ, advance the Kingdom of God against the powers of darkness temporarily at work in the world.
Advancing that Kingdom means the absolute assurance of facing opposition as Jesus faced opposition. Jesus promised that those faithful to him would be opposed and persecuted (). Interestingly, the way to advance the Kingdom is through love-inspired, self-sacrifice for the world. This is how Jesus advanced the Kingdom and likewise his church.
As we advance the Kingdom, we will face persecution. God does not remain silent, however, when his church is persecuted. He reveals the things to come. Take heart. Take your stand for Jesus. Do not fear. Do not be silent. May your faith be like a city on a hill and a light in the darkness. The world will stand against you, but don’t forget: God speaks and holds the future in his hands. Do not fear the one who can destroy the body, but the one who can destroy the soul.