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April 23, 2015

A Mysterious Manifestation of Jesus

It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit. Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast. … When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. Revelation 1:10; 12-13 (NLT)

The apostle John sees a manifestation of Jesus like no other he had ever seen! Even though John had spent three years with Jesus as His disciple, witnessed the transfiguration of Jesus on the Mount with Peter and James, and stood at the foot of the cross beside Jesus’ mother, John had never seen Jesus as he described Him in Revelation. He describes this mysterious manifestation as someone like the Son of Man. The experience was so alarming and awesome that John writes, “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as if I were dead!” (Rev. 1:17 NLT) God was giving John a deeper revelation and understanding of who He is. This special manifestation of Jesus was one promised to John in the Gospel narrative that he wrote. Jesus told John in John 14:21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”  Years later, while exiled on the Roman penal colony at the Island of Patmos, John would experience such a manifestation of the Son of Man, a title used many times in the New Testament in reference to Jesus as the Messiah. Yet, here, Jesus appears as the mighty Son of Man!  It would challenge his own mental picture of Jesus. Visualize the description John gave of what he saw and it will challenge your own mental image of Jesus:

He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across His chest. His head and His hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And His eyes were like flames of fire. His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and His voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. He held seven stars in His right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from His mouth. And His face was like the sun in all its brilliance. Revelation 1:13-16 (NLT)

What image comes to mind when you think of Jesus? A baby in a manger? A meek and mild man? A suffering Savior on a cross? Maybe a famous painting, movie character, or Sunday School art comes to mind. Do you ever picture Jesus like John saw Him with a gold sash, snow white hair, eyes like flames of fire, feet glowing like polished bronze, a voice that sounds like mighty ocean waves and a face that shone like the brilliance of the sun? John had witnessed the resurrected Christ when Jesus appeared to him and the others after He rose from the dead, but this appearance is truly the manifestation of the glorified Christ! His powerful presence transformed John’s life. The gold sash across Jesus’ chest signifies His High Priestly office, who enters the very presence of God to obtain forgiveness of sin for those who put their faith in Him. His white hair indicates His wisdom and Divine nature. Daniel also had a vision of Jesus that he records in Daniel 7:9 “I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame….” John’s description of Jesus’ eyes, that burned like flames of fire, and the two-edged sword that came from His mouth symbolizes His judgment of all evil. No wonder John fell down as though dead! As overwhelming as this mysterious manifestation was, John said, “He laid His right hand on me and said, ‘Don’t be afraid!  I am the First and the Last.  I am the living one.  I died, but look – I am alive forever and ever!” (Rev. 1:17-18a NLT)

Pause for a bit today and visualize such a manifestation of Jesus. Allow His powerful presence to transform your life.