A child’s first words are cherished as much as a father’s last words. For whether the words come in the opening scene or at the final bow, first and last words communicate what we value. A child cries out “momma” or “dadda” announcing the words of their heart—the words that contain the joy in their eyes, the comfort in their cries. Words that guide the onlooker to the source of the tender embrace who sets all the wrongs right. First words, like last words, define what we value. What we cherish. Where our heart rests. And the book of Revelation is no different.
John begins the book of Revelation with five words. Five words are often forgotten as the revelation unfolds. Five words lost in the chaos of interpreters, prophecy experts, and rapture debates. Five words that summarize the heart of this book and the heart of the blessed apostle on Patmos: “The revelation of Jesus Christ” (Rev 1:1).
John is writing this letter in exile on the island of Patmos—in exile for testifying “to the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev 1:9). In exile from the seven churches of Asia Minor (Rev 1:4, 11). Seven churches living life in the shadow of the Roman Empire. Seven churches struggling with conflict and compromise, disorientation and despair. Seven churches desperate for a Word from the Lord. Desperate for a Revelation.
More than prediction, more than blood red moons, more than seven years of tribulation, the book of Revelation was written to reveal Christ. To unveil Jesus. To open our eyes, soften our hearts, and entice our ears to hear the message of the crucified King, now risen and reigning. A message typically forgotten in times of trial, in moments of disarray, in worlds caught up in the torrent of tragedy and war. A message that the seven churches of Asia Minor desperately needed to hear—and a message we desperately need to embrace today.
From the outset, John declares: this is “the revelation of Jesus Christ…the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, the ruler of the kings of the earth” (Rev 1:1a, 5a). The one “who loves us and has released us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom of priests” (Rev 1:5b-6a). And may these first words be our guide in all the words that come hereafter.
- John 1:1-5
- Revelation 22:20-21
- Matthew 16:13-17
- Reflection Questions/Exercises
- Three times in a row, close your eyes and say out loud this question: “Who do I say Jesus is?” Now, without limits or judgment, write down your answers. What do you discover? What surprises you?
- Link to Video
- Direct Youtube Link: https://youtu.be/skUiBG-6Ul4
- Link embedded in website (sharper): https://www.shanejwood.com/yv-rev-day1/