Easter 2 • Revelation 1:4–18 • April 7, 2013

Textual Considerations
The number seven (ἑπτὰ) has been understood to denote completeness. Interpreters differ, however, as to whether the “seven spirits” in verse 4 signify the Holy Spirit and provide a reference to the Holy Trinity. Louis A. Brighton agrees with the Trinitarian understanding in his commentary on Revelation.[1]

For a helpful discussion of the meaning of υἱὸν ἀνθρώπου (“Son of Man”) v. 13, see Brighton.[2]

While a preacher could present an extensive interpretation of the vivid, symbolic language of the text, the homiletical task in this instance is to interpret and apply the text in its setting in the church year. Lent has passed with its emphasis on the suffering, crucifixion, and death of Jesus Christ. The joyous announcement “Christ is risen!” has proclaimed the resurrection of Jesus Christ and his victory over death and the grave.

The text can serve to remind the hearers that there is more to the message and mission of Jesus Christ.

Suggested Outline
Even though we have—according to the church year—passed through Lent, Holy Week, and Easter, the mission and message of Jesus Christ did not end with his
crucifixion, death, and resurrection. Our text reminds us that his ascension, session, and return in glory follow.

  • Jesus Christ “was pierced” (αὐτὸν ἐξεκέντησαν) (v. 7) and did shed his blood (ἐν τῷ αἵματι αὐτοῦ) (v. 5) to free people from their sins (v. 5). He did die (v. 18).
  • Jesus Christ did rise from the dead (v. 5). He established the gift of eternal life.In addition, Jesus Christ ascended into heaven forty days after his resurrection.
  • Jesus Christ is one with the Father and a person of the Holy Trinity (vv. 4–5).
  • Jesus Christ is reigning as king (v. 5). He is in control of all things. He “has made us a kingdom and priests to God the Father” (v. 6). (Ex 19:6 is in the background. Another application of the Exodus passage to the lives of New Testament believers is 1 Pt 2:9–10.)
  • Jesus Christ will return in glory. “Behold, he is coming with the clouds” (v. 7). [He proclaimed this message even before his death on the cross (Mt 24:30).]
  • Jesus Christ’s message to John is a message to all believers as they contemplate his second coming: (Μὴ φοβοῦ· ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ πρῶτος καὶ ὁ ἔσχατος.) “Fear not, I am the first and the last.”
  • Jesus Christ said that he has “the keys of death and hades.” He conquered death and the grave.

According to our text an expanded mission and message of Jesus Christ is that he suffered, was crucified, died, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, reigns as King, builds his church on earth, and will return in glory to judge the living and the dead.

Endnotes
[1] Louis A. Brighton, Revelation (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999), 41–43.
[2] Ibid., 54–55.

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