Clouds Parting Revealing the Heavens

A daily devotion for July 6th

Do Not Be Afraid

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. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

Rev 1:17-18

This is John's commission to write this book, and his reaction is one frequently seen whenever a man encounters the glorious God. He fell at his feet as though dead, struck dumb by the awesomeness of the character of God. Isaiah does the same when he sees the Lord high and lifted up with his train filling the temple. Job does this also when the wisdom and wonder of God is revealed to him. Throughout the Bible it is the only place to be when God appears — fall on your face as though dead.

But the reaction of Jesus is typical, very characteristic of him. Notice that he does three things. First, he touched John! He laid his right hand upon him. Read the Gospels; Jesus is always touching people. When he healed a leper he touched him. When he opened the eyes of the blind he put his hands upon their eyes. So here, Jesus touched him. And then, he reassured him. Fear not, he said. Don't be afraid. I am not your enemy. I am your friend. I am the First and the Last. [I set the boundaries of time and history. Everybody must live within the limits that I have determined]. I am the Living One. [I am always available.] I am alive forevermore, for ever and ever. [There will never be a moment when you need me that I will not be there, available to you.] And I hold the keys of death and Hades [death, the enemy of the physical life; Hades (or Hell), the enemy of the spiritual life. I am in charge of both places, both forces.] So you need not fear.

The point of this first chapter is to focus our attention upon Jesus. He is the central figure of all history. Christians are called to live as seeing him who is invisible. Every day this ought to affect us. Here is the One who goes with you to work tomorrow. This is the One who rides beside you as you drive your car. This is the One who watches as you sleep. This is the One who selects the circumstances of your life. He is ready to impart, at any time you need it, courage, peace, forgiveness, wisdom, and help in time of need. So John fulfills the purpose that he was given: to elevate and focus upon the figure of Jesus, that we might know him, who he is, and understand what he is willing to do.

Father, I confess how often I am driven by my fears. Thank you for how you reassure me and encourage me to fear not. You are so worthy of my trust. Amen.

Life Application

What are the things I fear the most? Take some time and lay these fears at the feet of the One who said, "Don’t be afraid. I am the First and the Last."

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

Behind the Scenes of History

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