by Roger Thomas

This content is part of a series.

Portraits of Christ in Revelation (17 of 18)
Series: New Testament Sampler
Roger Thomas
Revelation 1, 5, 19

Introduction: We don't have any photographs of Jesus. That's good. If we did, we would probably turn them in to idols. Superstitious folk have enough trouble would outlines in tree bark and stains on subway walls in Chicago. Imagine what people would do with an actual photography.

On the other hand, without an actual picture of Jesus imaginations run wild. We tend to picture him as we want him to be. We end up with paintings of Jesus that look like white, Renaissance, Italian artists. Or worse yet, we conceive of a Jesus who is meek, mild, and weak. Our pictures leave nothing that would account for the fear and awe that friend and foe alike saw in the real Christ. The Jesus of our paintings is often a Christ that few of us, even Christians, take seriously.

We don't have any photographs of Jesus. That's good and bad. But that doesn't mean we don't have any pictures. In fact, I would suggest that we have three portraits of Christ in the book of Revelations. The last book of the Bible is named Revelation for a reason. It is the revelation of Jesus Christ. That phrase cuts two ways. It is a revelation from Christ. It is also a revelation of Christ.

The three portraits of Christ in Revelation come at the critical junctures in the book. The first (in chapter 1) outlines the one who speaks in the book. The second (in chapter 5) describes the one who holds the key to all that follows. The final portrait (chapter 19) is the grand finale. The Christ of the Second Coming is the one for whom all of history is waiting. Each is a detailed word picture complete with vivid symbols and graphic images. They don't tell us what Christ looks like as much as who he is. That's the picture that matters.

1. The Christ of the Church (Rev 1)

I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that ar ...

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