The Revealing of Jesus Christ (The Messiah)
Sermon Notes 1.5.20-Pastor Wesley D. Peaden
In the four Gospels we read the perspective of four men who walked with Jesus or his disciples and wrote to convey his life on Earth to us. Jesus was the Messiah, as the disciples would come to recognize. He is the Messiah, as we worship and acknowledge as Christians (Christ followers or little Christs). He will be recognized as the Messiah for all eternity. The testimony of the four Gospels is made alive in the Acts of the Apostles through the first followers of Jesus and their life on the Earth after he ascended to heaven.
In 2019 we studied God’s view of us, the church, through the events and stories of Jesus in the early church contained in the Acts of the Apostles.
Acts is a version of our story to which we can relate well and from which the church is often taught about living the Christ life on the Earth.
Revelation is a magnificent view of Jesus and the church which is often missed when we approach the text looking for mystery and eschatology.
Throughout 2020, you will not learn great mysteries about the end of the world from the text we will study. We will not make up wild stories to support or presuppositions or the assumptions of other believers. We will find ourselves in this text, find Jesus and this text, and find the ability to actually “keep” the words of the book of Revelation.
What does the text have to say?
1 A revealing of Jesus, the Messiah. God gave it to make plain to his servants what is about to happen. He published and delivered it by Angel to his servant John. And John told everything he saw: God’s Word— the witness of Jesus Christ!
3 How blessed the reader! How blessed the hearers and keepers of these oracle words, all the words written in this book!
Time is just about up.Revelation 1:1-3 MSG
This is the unveiling of Jesus Christ,[a] which God gave him to share with his loving servants[b] what must occur swiftly.[c] He clearly made it known[d] by sending his angel[e] to his loving servant John.[f] 2 I, John, bore witness to the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 3 A joyous blessing[g] rests upon the one who reads this message and upon those who hear and embrace the words of this prophecy, for the appointed time is in your hands.[h]Revelation 1:1-3 TPT
In the opening words of the text it is clear that the purpose of what was revealed to John on the isle of Patmos was Jesus. Eugene Peterson uses the phrase “the revealing of Jesus, the Messiah” while Brian Simmons uses the verbiage “the unveiling of Jesus Christ” both of which capture the meaning of the text in a beautiful manner. What John is about to see and hear is all about Jesus. This is the revealing of Jesus Christ, not the anti-Christ (who is actually never mentioned in the book, and who in fact is never mentioned as a person in entire text of the bible). What John writes down and shares with the seven churches of Asia Minor (Modern day Turkey) is what we read today and it is a magnificent view of Jesus, his mission, his bride, his Father’s heart, and his purpose for all time.
God sends this message to John to “make plain to his servants” or “share with his loving servants” things that are stated to be happening quickly. It is clear of this language, the author, the encounter, and the recipients of this text that the primary purpose of what we are about to study is not for some time and people far off. We must be careful to let the text speak to us as intended not as we imagine. God has given us his Spirit to help reveal Jesus to us. In fact, that is all he has to say.
12 “There is so much more I would like to say to you, but it’s more than you can grasp at this moment. 13 But when the truth-giving Spirit comes, he will unveil the reality of every truth[e] within you. He won’t speak his own message, but only what he hears from the Father, and he will reveal prophetically to you what is to come. 14 He will glorify me on the earth, for he will receive from me what is mine[f] and reveal it to you.John 16:12-14 TPT
Tell me more
Who doesn’t need more of Jesus. We all need more of Jesus! The Holy Spirit has a singular purpose to reveal more of Jesus. Who doesn’t need the Holy Spirit? We all need the Holy Spirit. Father, give us your Spirit! Father, gives us your Son! Today, Father, reveal the truth to us. Jesus is the truth. Open our eyes, our hearts, and our minds. The whole world is waiting for a greater revelation of Jesus. Paul, says the whole Earth is “groaning” in expectation of our ultimate salvation from every limitation of this life. The whole world is waiting to see Jesus in the ultimate form through us.
We should ask the Spirit of God to tell us more. We should ask the Father for more of Jesus. The world is longing for more of Jesus in us and through us. We should cry, tell us more Holy Spirit and tell us more Jesus. The world will look to us, when we look and act more like Jesus, saying tell us more. Like John we can tell everything we see to everyone when we get a good view of Jesus. Holy Spirit give us the view of Jesus that ignites us to tell everyone what we have seen and heard, like the early disciples.
20 For we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”Acts 4:20 Tree of Life Version (TLV)
How do we say it?
Eugene Peterson authored a book title “Tell It Slant” in which he demonstrates how Jesus used stories, parables, and various ways of telling the truth in ways that made people think. Jesus did not say many things plainly. He used word pictures and mysterious forms of conveying his message many, many times. It is no surprise that the revealing of Jesus to John also carries such mystery. The mystery, however, is not about the enemy or some time to come which the first recipients would never understand. Does that mean that the text is not prophetic? No, of course not. Prophetic text always has a near application and a future application. All the text of scripture points to the moment and to the Messiah. It is all a bit prophetic. Jesus revealed this to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.
27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.Luke 24:27 NIV
When we tell the story, we should clearly point to Jesus even though we may not use his name or explicitly draw people to a chapter and verse found in red letters. We are the people of the story and Jesus is the story. He is a beautiful story, a mysterious story, an amazing story, a never-ending story, and to many people he is the greatest story never told. As we gaze into this revelation of Jesus throughout 2020, I pray that our imagination is opened and our vocabulary expanded to reveal Jesus in new ways to others. We must tell the story, but being direct is not really the way of the Master. He told it in way to opened people up, differently, slant. We should, as Peterson encourages us to do, “Tell It Slant.”
Readers and Keepers
In verse three John conveys that the Angel who speaks to him says those who read and keep the words of this revelation will be blessed. Who doesn’t want to be blessed? We all want to be blessed. If we want to be blessed we not only need to read this book of the Bible, one of the least read by Christians due to the confusion over its meaning and purpose, but we should “keep it.” What does that mean? We should live it and honor it with our lives. How many people can you say have lived and honored the book of Revelation? If this was so important, why are we missing it? We saw in the book of Acts how Gentiles and Jews missed the Messiah because they either did not believe in him at all or believed things about him that were misguided or misunderstood. Folks, the same is true of our problem with seeing Jesus in Revelation. We are not looking for him as he is revealed he but as we think he will be or should be. Stay focused throughout the year as we dive deep into reading and learning how to “keep” the words of this book.
Frank Viola and Leonard Sweet wrote a strongly prophetic book in 2010, which they were writing for the moment but I find rings even more true in 2020, titled “Jesus Manifesto.” The message of the book is how much the world around us needs Jesus, but also how much the church needs Jesus. We have become centered on so much that pertains to Jesus, but left Jesus out or on the sidelines. Jesus question to his disciples is relevant for us today. “Who do you say I am?” (John 16:15 NIV). Who we say He is turns out to be the most important question in the world, for all time and at any time. We need to focus our attention on knowing the answer and revealing it with our lives. That is the purpose of our study and the purpose of the book we know as “Revelation.”
As I close this thought today, I want to echo the voice of Beth Moore in her book “Believing God.” I think the greatest trouble we have in seeing Jesus Christ, trusting him, and living fully in him is that we just don’t really believe him fully. If we did we would worship and pray differently.
We would confidently praise him more and with more passion as Pastor Becky often encourages us to do. We would gladly lay ourselves and all our concerns at his feet as Eric Gilmore encourages us to do in his time at Jesus 19 and in his video about a word for 2020. I pray we get a greater and more full Revelation of Jesus the Messiah!
Father, open our eyes, hearts, and minds. As you open us within, open our mouths to share it with others. Open us out to those who need this revelation, just like we do. Holy Spirit, shows us the deep things of God and the vision of Jesus as he is seen through eternal eyes. Jesus, make yourself known in and through us. Let us pray!