[Dec 15]—How Big Is Your Jesus?

            We’re in the home-stretch folks! If there’s anyone out there reading this who’ve actually read the 3 years minus two weeks up till now, congratulations! I can’t believe I held your attention for more than one reading, but hopefully it’s been a blessing to you.
            As you might’ve guessed, we’re going to start the book of Revelation. Before we go any further, a couple of clarifications and disclaimers:

·         In case you’re just joining us, I just need to remind you that this is a devotional, not a commentary. We’re going to spend the little time we have left (16 more postings) to touch on some practical lessons we find in the last book of the Bible, not look at every verse.
·         If you’re coming this study expecting an in-depth study of eschatology (last things), then you’ve come to the wrong place. That’s not my point here. I’m not going to speculate about who the Anti-Christ is, and I’m not going to even touch on whether I’m Pre-Trib or Post-Trib. I think that there’s plenty of great insights in this book that Christians of different stripes can glean. This is the only book of the Bible that offers a blessing just from reading it (vs. 3). Therefore, no matter where we come down on details about his return and what just precedes it, we can all benefit from this.

This was written around A.D. 95, in the last few years of John’s life. He’d seen all of his fellow apostles martyred over the years, and he was nearing the end. God’s word was almost complete. In fact, considering his surprise at being visited by his Lord in these visions, he might’ve thought the canon was complete already. But no, the Lord had one more revelation to give his servant and the church, and this is the result.
John was in exile on the Island of Patmos, located in the Aegean Sea southwest of Ephesus. Like many prophets and apostles and other faithful believers before him, he was suffering for proclaiming the Message of Christ. Satan certainly thought that this would shut the old man up, and once again the Lord accomplished his purposes anyway.
John was in his own last days, wondering how long he was going to have to endure this sin-wrecked world before he could enter his Homeland. He’d suffered much for his Savior, and life in exile on this tiny island certainly wasn’t a picnic.
But then the Lord Jesus appeared to him, and gave a vision of himself to the old man which literally brought him face-down. This reminded John (and us) a lesson we need to keep at the forefront of our mind, especially as we enter rough times, even times of oppression from powerful forces: Our Lord Jesus Christ is in charge. He’s the “preeminent One” among the dead (that’s what “firstborn” means), and he’s the “ruler of the kings of the earth.” The Father’s already officially placed all things under his feet, including every king and president and dictator. No one breathes without his permission. The Father of Lies and all his henchmen don’t move one inch without his permission.        
Jesus appeared to his beloved disciple. I want to point out to you, this man had an especially intimate relationship with the Savior: He was “the one whom Jesus loved.” At the Last Supper, this man felt perfectly putting his head in Jesus’s lap (this is the way most people translate and interpret John 13:23). At the very least, he was relating to Jesus on a very intimate level. Jesus had shared things with this man, Peter, and James that he hadn’t shared with anyone else on earth.
We need that. We need to understand and bask in his immanence, the glorious truth that he is right here, right now. He’s as close as our heartbeat, as close as the breath on our lips. We especially need that intimate communion when we’re going through times of suffering.
But we also need a glimpse of the other side of the coin: His transcendence. He’s holy beyond measure, meaning he’s separate from the rest of creation. He’s not like us. He’s not like anyone or anything else in the universe. We need this too. If he’s nothing but my best friend, then he’s not big enough to handle my biggest problems.
This reminds me of the problem with the Israelites just as they were about to enter the Land of Canaan. They sent in 12 spies, and all the spies agreed that the native inhabitants were incredibly big. The problem was that ten of them were comparing the size of the Canaanites to the size of the Israelites, when they should’ve done what the other two spies did: Compare the size of the Canaanites to the size of the God of Israel. If they’d done that, they would've joined the other two spies in saying “Do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”
We’ll spend some time tomorrow looking a bit closer on this picture of the Lord Jesus. But in the meantime, ask yourself “How big is my Jesus? How big is my view of him?”

“Aslan" said Lucy "you're bigger."
"That is because you are older, little one" answered he.
"Not because you are?"
"I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger."

                                                C. S. Lewis, Prince Caspian 

Lord Jesus, I know that my vision of you is so unworthy of you. Just like Lucy, may I see you as bigger and bigger as the years pass. 

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