Jesus, the Heart of Revelation

Do not be afraid but full of hope.

WordGo · 5 min read

We don't have to search far to see that people know this world will end. Movies, TV shows, and novels dream up apocalyptic scenes of destruction—caused by widespread disease, natural disasters, civil unrest, epic battles, or even the arrival of alien armies. Some people fearfully fill their basements with doomsday supplies. Others watch the news daily with horror and dread, seeing wars near and far and world rulers in conflict. Humanity loves to predict and speculate what will cause the earth's demise.

So what about you? Are you confident your life story ends in glory? Maybe you have a dismal outlook on the demise of all things. You walk about your day not knowing where you'll be when this world is no more. Do you look forward to a magnificent eternity? What kind of hope do you have?

Here's the good news: God has told us how this world ends, and there is breathtaking hope for all who belong to Jesus Christ.

Revelation, the 66th and final book of the Bible, gloriously completes the story God has been telling from the beginning. Beyond human description, Revelation describes the fulfillment of God's plans and reveals the destiny of humanity and God's kingdom. It's a dramatic closing of judgment, victory, and a new beginning for God's people. But at its heart, Revelation is all about God’s Son, Jesus Christ, the centerpiece of God's eternal history.

At the heart of Revelation, Jesus stands as the great hope of God's people. In the end, God's terrifying and perfect justice will resolve the conflict between good and evil with finality. God's judgment and wrath will be undeniable and all-consuming, sweeping over the earth. But for those who trust in Jesus, His victory is all we need. His radiant life and saving grace beckons us onward. He accomplishes His purposes and crowns us with life. Those redeemed by the holy Lamb who was slain will stand radiantly alive with Him forever.

So why should we study Revelation today? Because the words of this prophecy belong to Jesus, and He intends for us to read it, keep it, and be blessed by it. Perhaps the word "prophecy" causes you to pause. Most simply, biblical prophecy is God's message for now and for the future. Revelation 1:1-3 confirms that these are Jesus's words given to the apostle John, who communicates God's truth in God's power. This prophecy is Jesus's trustworthy testimony of what is and what must soon take place—and we should listen!

So how do we begin? Well, John makes it clear in Revelation 1:9-20. We must set our eyes on this book's ultimate Subject, Source, and Speaker. John gives a glorious sight of Jesus exalted. When John first sees Jesus’s glory, he falls before Jesus like a dead man. Christ's everlasting majesty shines like the sun in all its blinding light. Jesus's wisdom, purity, strength, and piercing knowledge brings John to his knees in fear. But in one beautiful moment (verses 17-18), the Lord Jesus outstretches His hand, touches John, and speaks.

The Lord Jesus gives John – and every believer today – four real reasons not to be afraid but full of hope in Him:

1. "I am the First and the Last."

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is eternal God. As Colossians 1:17 succinctly puts it, "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." He existed before time and continues without end. Jesus was there at the beginning, and through Him, all things were made (John 1:3). Christ's eternal union with God the Father and the Spirit assures us His authority is absolute today; He rules over all time, things, places, people, and powers.

2. "I am the Living One."

Jesus declared in John 11:25, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die." Life belongs to Jesus because Jesus Himself is the life. To those who come by faith, He gladly gives living water (John 4:10-14), new life in the Spirit that satisfies today and lasts for eternity. The life that Jesus is and offers cannot be defeated or depleted—not by dismal days nor death itself.

3. "I was dead, and now look, I am alive forever and ever!"

Jesus died an excruciating death upon the cross. He was mercilessly beaten, mocked, and mounted high for all to see. Jesus drank the full cup of God's wrath for us. But death proved a pale and powerless opponent—Jesus rose and is risen. He ascended before the disciples' eyes and is alive today in majestic wholeness. Jesus longs for His own to see His eternal glory (John 17:24). And because of Christ, believers will rise and forever dwell in His presence (Romans 6:5).

4. "And I hold the keys of death and Hades."

Jesus is the keeper of days and eternal destinations. Like a Good Shepherd who lays in the way of His sheep (John 10:7-18), Jesus keeps all who belong to Him safe from the horror of eternity without Him. He frees His redeemed from sin's curse and death's captivity; He firmly shuts the gates of death before them. He has the keys—no one can condemn His own ever again (Romans 8:1)! Jesus's righteous sacrifice is sufficient, and His authority secures us forever.

What hope do you gain from John’s vision of the risen Jesus? Will you enter the study of Revelation, remembering the One at the heart of it all? Revelation is Jesus’s word to us, and He is trustworthy and true. He will tell us all about what is and what must soon take place. But most of all, He will give His people confidence to persevere in His transcendent strength until we see Him at last.

Let us read, study, and be blessed. Let us find hope in Jesus who is the foundation and final glory of the believer’s life story.