Revelation 1:17 – When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.”
This book of the Bible was written by the Apostle John, who had walked with Jesus during Jesus’ earthly ministry. He spent nearly every waking moment at Jesus’ side for three and a half years. He saw miracles, he saw the transfiguration, he was at the last supper leaning against Jesus and he was witness to both the crucifixion and the resurrection. This man was no stranger to Jesus.
Yet when he saw his Lord in His resurrected glory, John fell at His feet as though dead.
And what does Jesus do when He sees His friend prostrate at His feet? He places His right hand on John. Do you remember how John had the audacity to ask if he could sit, with his brother James, one on the right hand and one on the left hand of Jesus in His coming Kingdom? It’s as if Jesus, in this gesture, is saying, “I remember our history from when I walked beside you on the way to Jerusalem.”
John had been exiled to the island of Patmos, and before that he had been both poisoned and boiled alive in oil, but he didn’t die. Here he was, his body broken by the Romans and confined to excruciating loneliness, and yet his heart continually praises his King.
Then comes one phrase Jesus says over and over: “Do not be afraid.”
So many times Jesus repeats this one admonition: “Do not be afraid.”
Why does He say this? To quote the Apostle John, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” Jesus is Perfect Love.
Something else Jesus tells us about Himself is this: “I am the First and the Last.”
This is an echo of Isaiah, where the Lord says three different times (41:4, 44:6, 48:12) that He is the First and the Last. Here, Jesus erases any doubt that He is God, the Second of the Trinity. God spoke in many different ways, but in these last days He spoke to us through His Son, who is the Radiance of the Father.
He also wants to communicate that He is there at the start and there at the finish and there all along the way, no matter what we have endured or will endure. Not only that, but He will infuse us with more courage than the world is used to seeing—the courage of Him who went before us.
So lift your eyes up and behold Him in His glory and He will infuse you with the courage to live His calling on your life.