When John sees the glorified Jesus (Revelation 1:12-16), he falls as if dead at His feet. This glory, holiness, and majesty are unbearable for a transient and sinful human child. But how comforting, we then read, "And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me.” (verse 17) We often read these words, or words to a similar effect, in God's Word, "Fear not." When we meet God in His glorious and holy light, our whole inward and outward being is laid open. So, there is every reason to fear. We stand guilty and know ourselves defiled and guilty. But Jesus, the heavenly Advocate and Mediator speaks, full of grace and truth, "Fear not.” After this tender gesture, He begins to speak. In that word, He reintroduces Himself, instructs John to write what He hears and sees, and lets it be heard that all things are firmly in His hands.
He says who He is: "I am the First and the Last." In other words, He is at the beginning of history and at the end. He is the Creator and the Judge. But the upshot is that everything between the beginning and the end is firmly in His hands. What a comfort, the Recreator is the Creator and Judge and He is in control. includes everything and stands at the beginning and the end. He continues, "I am he that liveth. And was dead; and behold, I am alive forevermore.” This is a profound mystery. The One who is, ”the first and the Last”, the “Prince of life”, was dead. But He rose on the third day. He came into our dead and conquered that dead. The penalty for sin has been paid and accepted by God, the Father. The prince of darkness and death has been conquered. So, in Him, death is a passage into eternal life. What a comfort that is. This comfort is reinforced by the next words, “Amen, and have the keys of hell and death.” So, He is the master of death as well as of the realm of death. He determines who goes into the realm of the dead. This also establishes that He determines who lives. What a comfort for the believer who leans on Him!
He then gives the instruction to write down what John sees, what is going on, and what will happen. And finally, He shows in verse 20 that He has His Church firmly in His hand. The Church is His work, and He will complete that work. That is a comfort in trouble and sorrow, but at the same time, an exhortation to persevere in the way of faith and conversion.
Thus Revelation 1 has powerfully pointed us to the Lord Jesus Christ and who He is. Let us take that image and those words and store them in our hearts.