The Real Jesus
Originally scheduled for June 10
Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having
turned I saw seven golden lampstands; and in the middle of the
lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching
to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. His
head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His
eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze,
when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like
the sound of many waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and
out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like
the sun shining in its strength. When I saw Him, I fell at His feet
like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, "Do not
be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I
was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of
death and of Hades.
(Revelation 1:12-18 NASB)
Jesus, it seems, is really a nice guy. We
proclaim and teach the gentle Jesus, the Good Shepherd, and lightly
glance past such scenes as his cleansing of the Temple. To do this,
I submit, misses an essential part of who Jesus really is.
The scene here gives us an idea of what we’re
missing. The scene is obviously one of power, as we can tell by the
fact that John falls at his feet as a man who is dead. We can also
see several other attributes of this Jesus:
He is the first and last, therefore
the eternal one. He is self existent; meaning he depends upon no one
or no thing for his existence. You and I borrow the concept of
existence from the one who has it intrinsically.
He is the living one. He is the
source of all life itself. He was crucified and he died, was laid in
the tomb — and walked out of it three days later. He is the
conqueror of death. That resurrection brought about the forgiveness
of our sins, if we will accept his atonement.
He told us to fear not the one who
could kill the body, but the one who could kill the body and then
send the soul to hell. He is the one who holds the keys of death and
You might think for someone so powerful it
would be sufficient for him to send us a memo telling us what we
should be doing. But it seems that power is so much his style that
his glory comes through every time that he tries to do that —
remember Moses on the mountain? So what did he do to bring the word
He went through the ultimate
condescension of becoming an incarnate man. CS Lewis once compared
it to one of us becoming a barnacle, so we could save the other
barnacles. He didn’t just show up as a man; he went through the
birth process that we go through emerging as a baby, growing up to
be a man.
In his ministry he ate with sinners.
Think about that. He did not come as some pious guru, learnedly
associating with only the religious experts of the day. He ate and
drank with sinners — and frankly was the life of the party. The
religious experts felt he was getting his hands dirty. But he was
the Light of the World — and how do you make light dirty?
He became the ultimate in sacrificial
atonement. He died that we might have forgiveness and therefore a
path to God the Father.
This, then is the man Jesus. In communion we
meet him, for in communion we partake of the body and blood of Jesus
Christ. How does that work? That’s one of those great mysteries
about which even the learned and intelligent disagree. We obtain
eternal life from the ever-living One. There is one certain step
that we must take in communion: we must examine ourselves. In
self-examination we have the cleansing of the soul — by the power of
the one who holds the keys to Death and Hell. Therefore, as you
partake this morning bring your sins to him for cleansing. Then
leave as one who has been forgiven.