THE LIVING ONE
Updated: Mar 4
What do you think about the idea of being immortal? Being able to live forever? Many a civilisation has aspired to the hope of discovering the secret to not growing old. What would you do, if you could live forever and not be killed? Might you aim for a life of luxury? Accumulating money to one day live the life of kings? Maybe you’d take up a dangerous job, such as a firefighter or in a bomb disposal unit, using your special powers to keep the vulnerable safe? Perhaps you’d be your own boss and become a vigilante like Batman, rescuing people who needed saving?
Then again, would you really want to be immortal and live on this earth forever? The last few decades have seen random acts of terrorism, accidents in nuclear facilities, as well as natural disasters all over the earth; making the future of life on this earth appear a lot more uncertain.
If any of this stuff worries you, Jesus has some reassuring words for you, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” These words have come some 50 or so years after the event of Jesus’ death, where Jesus talks about what He has won for us during those memorable days.
As John turned in response to the voice he heard, he saw the immortal Son of Man. Standing dressed in a fine robe, with the appearance of an Old Testament High Priest. As the go-between God and His people, a priest spoke on behalf of God, giving instruction and offering a yearly sacrifice to cancel out wrongs done. This person who stands before John identifies as the foremost priest there is, the actual Word of God who offered up His own life as the perfect sacrifice, so that we can be forgiven.
John takes a closer look to make out who the figure is, drawn to the striking colour of His hair, white like the wool of a pure lamb. In the book of Daniel 7:9, the Lord appears with white hair and is given the name “the Ancient of days,” signifying the everlasting God, older than the universe itself, with wisdom unmatched.
John begins to recognise this figure. It is Jesus. He gazes into the eyes of the Son of God to see they are blazing like a fire. John glimpses an intense aliveness, a holy purity, a genuine honesty and love, which searches the heart and knows what He sees. Who could hold the stare of Jesus? John turns his eyes away and looks to the floor, where he sees the feet of Jesus. They glow like the colour of bronze that has been through a furnace, showing that Jesus has been through a severe time of testing, enduring the torture of execution by the cross and proving His worth. The sound of Jesus’ voice is powerful and majestic, as you would expect from a King. His words come like a weapon. When spoken, these are not just words of a past era. They are alive, speaking from God’s throne into our day and time and active, striking with real power to cause events to change on the earth, defeating the power of the enemy.
Jesus confirms that He is indeed the immortal saving One; being the only one worthy to hold such power of immortality. The words “I am,” come with the full meaning of the Old Testament name for God “I am who I am.” In later times, this name of God (YHWH or Yahweh) was held in such respect that it was not spoken. He is the God that has always been, the immortal One; the only one deserving to hold the power of immortality. Leaving heaven, living as a man, being unjustly executed; His sacrificial death won authority to access Hades. Hades, the place of the dead, came under the devil’s influence for those whose sins have not been atoned for. Jesus lived a completely sinless life; thus when Jesus died He was not under the devil’s power. Taking back authority to access Hades, Jesus also beat death through His resurrection, gaining authority over death itself.
Jesus is the Living One. He reigns and rules over the universe. The events in this book are written so that you will know that He has His hand on all things. He has won a prize for you, a reward that runs into eternity.
This blog is an extract from Paul Martin's new book called "Unlocking Revelation." The book contains 49 devotions for young people that take the reader through this last book of the Bible. BUY THE BOOK
Fireman Helmet picture: Luke Witter (Unsplash)