December 14, 2018
“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.’” Revelation 1:17-18 (NIV)
People aren’t afraid of babies. Now, it might be intimidating to think of caring for a baby, but just meeting a baby isn’t a very terrifying experience to the average person.
Babies are cute, small and helpless. They don’t pose any danger. How amazing that Jesus entered our world as a little baby! Jesus’ mode of arrival reveals God the Father’s humility, kindness and approachability.
The Bible introduces us to Jesus, the baby. This is the beautiful portrait of the Christmas season. But let’s also remember the Bible describes Jesus as the exalted Son of Man whose eyes are as a flame of fire, whose mouth has a two-edged sword, and whose face is like the sun in all its brilliance. (Revelation 1:14,16) That’s a much more intimidating picture!
The elderly Apostle John saw this almighty God while exiled on the tiny island of Patmos. If the saying “Best Friends Forever” existed back then, John might have used it to describe his relationship with Jesus. Among the Lord’s 12 disciples, He had an inner circle of three (Peter, James and John). John described himself in his Gospel as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23b). Clearly, he had a deep relationship with the Savior.
When John was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, he heard God’s voice like a trumpet and saw his master and best friend, Jesus.
“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead” (Revelation 1:17a).
What an impression God made on John! Here’s a disciple who had walked and talked with Jesus, yet when John sees Jesus in all His splendor and glory, he is undone. He is terrified and falls down like a dead man. Pay attention to what Jesus does next.
“Then he placed his right hand on me and said: ‘Do not be afraid’” (Revelation 1:17b).
Jesus didn’t flex His divine muscles and shout with a thunderous voice to heighten fright in John’s heart. He did the opposite. He spoke kindly and placed His hand on John to strengthen him. He chose words of comfort that you can find in the Bible hundreds of times: “Do not be afraid.”
What’s causing you fear today? Allow Jesus’ words to John to bring you comfort and courage. You don’t have to be afraid of any challenge facing you because of who God is. He said:
“I am the First and the Last” (v. 17). He is divine and eternal.
“I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever!” (v. 18). John had witnessed Jesus’ gruesome crucifixion. There is no hurt on earth that God does not understand. But because of the resurrection, death has been beaten once and for all.
“I hold the keys of death and Hades” (v. 18). God has sovereign dominion in and over the invisible world. He opens and shuts doors that no one else can. Jesus possesses the key to the kingdom of God and the entrance into eternal life.
So when you see the baby Jesus depicted this season, rejoice and be glad! God came down in the least intimidating way — as a baby. But also remember, He shall return as the ultimate victor over the devil and death. We will fall at His feet in worship. God is all powerful and hallelujah, He is on our side!
Lord Jesus, I humble myself before You. Who am I that You should love me? Thank You for coming as a baby. You will return as King. Help me remember Your extraordinary power and honor You as Lord over my life this Christmas season. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Revelation 3:7, “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.” (NIV)
Deuteronomy 31:8, “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (NIV)
Do you set goals for yourself at the beginning of every year, only to find that those goals have been long forgotten come February? You’re not alone. A great gift to give a friend or buy for yourself, Proverbs 31 has designed the 2019 My Declaration Calendar with that specific dilemma in mind. Whether you’re craving more balance, more peace or more gratitude, this calendar will help remind you of God's promises every day.
Follow Arlene Pellicane on Instagram, and find verses from God’s Word to help you silence fear this Christmas season.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Put yourself in the Apostle John’s shoes for a moment. How might you respond if Jesus appeared before you? How would that encounter change your perspective about life? Share your thoughts in today’s comments.
© 2018 by Arlene Pellicane. All rights reserved.
Originally published Friday, 14 December 2018.