Don't Be Afraid

Listen to Revelation Chapter 1
or read "A Voice and a Vision"
On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet...

I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. ...

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. 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.
Bruce Carter in a message given in October of 2004 and titled The Power of Worship, Revelation 1 shared the following introducing the book of Revelation and this passage.

The first word of the book of Revelation in the Greek language is the word "apocalypse." The word apocalypse literally means "a revealing" or "an unveiling." This is the apocalypse of Jesus Christ. In the book of Revelation God lifts the curtain and let's us peek into the future to see the things that must soon take place.

... The apostle John did not have an easy life. Even though he outlived all the other disciples, he took his share of shots for Jesus. History tells us that at one point the Romans arrested him for his faith and threw him into a cauldron of boiling oil. But God miraculously spared his life and he survived unscathed. And when the Romans saw that they were totally freaked out. They didn't know what to do with him so they exiled him to the island of Patmos, which was like the Alcatraz of the Roman Empire, a barren rock in the middle of the Aegean Sea.

And that's where John is when God gives him the apocalypse. He's worshiping God, in the Spirit, on the Lord's Day, when he hears a loud voice that tells him to write down what he sees and send it to the seven churches.

... Trapped on this lonely, desert island, while deep in worship on the Lord's Day, John has a vision of Jesus. Again, it's all about Jesus! Its a strange vision of one "like a son of man," with hair that's white like wool, eyes that blaze like fire, a double-edged sword coming out of his mouth, feet and a face that shine like the sun, and hands that hold seven stars. And John collapses in a pile at his feet.

Then comes one of the most tender moments in Scripture. ... "John, John, don't be afraid. It's me. It's your friend, Jesus. The one you love. The one who went to the cross for you and died and rose again. The Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the ruler of the universe. It's me, John. Please don't be afraid."

Exiled on the island of Patmos, John has an encounter with Jesus that blows him over, literally. He sees Jesus as a supernatural figure shining as bright as the sun. This incredible sight of Jesus knocks John to the ground at his feet. The sight fills him with wonder and fear.

In one way for me it is difficult to picture Jesus this way with eyes of fire and a sword coming from his mouth. It is a fearful picture. It is a supernatural picture. I am more comforted by the picture created by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in the New Testament. A man living here on earth. A man who loves everyone and gave up his own life for everyone ... for me. A picture created by his actions. Seeing the Son of God the way he is without the limits of humanity, without the confines of earth, probably can not be completely and accurately described using human language. The sight is beyond any words. Perhaps it is beyond words but not actions. John in a pile on the ground filled with fear feels the hand of Jesus and hears those comforting words "Don't be afraid." It is Jesus!

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