I AM the First and the Last

The Risen Christ

Jesus said, “I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” Revelation 1:17-18

In most artistic renditions, Jesus appears to be a gentle man. But that isn’t the Jesus the apostle John saw in a vision on the isle of Patmos. The elderly, exiled apostle described the Risen Christ this way: eyes like blazing fire, feet like bronze glowing in a furnace, a voice like the sound of rushing waters, a sharp double-edged sword emerging from his mouth, and his face shining like the sun (Revelation 1:14-16, paraphrased).

Intimidating, right? In fact, John “fell at his feet as though dead” when he saw his Savior and Lord (v. 17). What happened to the Jesus John had known on earth? Jesus had been glorified—clothed in His full splendor as the Second Person of the Godhead. John saw the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Many people attempt to pack the Risen Christ in a box with their Easter baskets, much as they store Baby Jesus with their Christmas decorations. But the Risen Christ cannot be contained or dismissed. He sits at the right hand of God the Father with the power of a consuming fire and the authority of an indestructible sword.

In John’s vision, Jesus identifies Himself as the First and the Last—the self-sufficient, eternal I AM, who created the world, who appeared to Moses at the burning bush, and who reigns in heaven. Jesus also says He’s the Living One, that is, the sinless One who alone could fulfill God the Father’s required payment for human sin, die on the cross, and arise from the dead. Because of this, Jesus holds the keys of death and Hades in His hands. He has earned the right to give all who believe in Him eternal life and to sentence all who refuse His gift of salvation to eternal judgment.

The only proper response to the Risen Christ—our king, judge, high priest, and savior—is to fall to our knees in worship before Him as John did.

As we leave behind our Easter celebrations, let’s hold on to Easter’s life-transforming truth: King Jesus is alive forevermore, and through His resurrection power we can become the people He designed us to be. Hallelujah!

DIG DEEPER:

In John 1:14, the apostle wrote, “we have seen his glory,” referring to Jesus’s transfiguration. Read Matthew 17:1-8 with Revelation 1:12-18. What was the same about the two events? What was different?

What do Daniel 7:13-14 and Matthew 25:31 reveal about Jesus’s return to earth? How do those passages complement John’s vision in Revelation 1?

What is resurrection power and what does it enable us to do? Consider these passages: Ephesians 1:15-23, Colossians 1:9-12, and 2 Peter 1:3-8.

Denise  K. Loock

This devotion is the last in a series on the I AM Names of Jesus.

 

 

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