“The Voice” – Revelation 1.9-20 (word doc available here)
In this passage John is confronted with a majestic, overwhelming vision of the risen Lord Jesus. The vision reveals a Jesus who is no longer the humble itinerant preacher, or the humiliated prisoner, but a victorious all-powerful conqueror. John is commissioned to the role of prophet and scribe of the things he is about to be shown.
- In verse 9 John joins the theme of suffering to kingdom and patience. How are these three things connected together? How were each of these elements brought to fulfilment in the cross (e.g. suffering – Acts 26.22-23; kingdom – Colossians 1.13-14; patience – Acts 17.30-31)?
- When speaking of our attitude to the Lord’s day (v10), Jim stated that “grace is the greater impetus” over legalism. Share an example of how you invest in the Lord’s day for your spiritual benefit. What principles do we live by on a Sunday? How do we build good spiritual practises into our Sunday’s without becoming legalistic?
- The voice begins by commanding John to write the things that he sees in a book (v11). Why does Jesus want these things written down? What does this say about how God chooses to communicate with people? What does this say to those who demand the miraculous before they will believe (compare Luke 16.31)?
- Read verses 13-16 – how does this description compare with how most people think of Jesus at this time of year? How does this image challenge our perception of Jesus as “holy infant so tender and mild”?
- In verse 13 Jesus is walking in the midst of the 7 lampstands, representing the 7 churches. This image is intended to encourage those churches, but if he is so close, why did Jesus not defend some of these churches from persecution? Why does Jesus wait so long before giving them their message of encouragement or rebuke? What is Jesus’ ultimate goal for his people? Are we willing to embrace affliction if that is what it takes to know Jesus better?
- 60 years after his last conversation with Jesus, John unexpectedly meets his Saviour again. How would you have felt hearing the voice of Jesus after all those years? Why does this vision overwhelm John (v 17) despite his previous experience in seeing Jesus’ transfiguration (Matthew 17)?
- In verse 18 Jesus states “I hold the keys of deaths and Hades” – Jim commented that “in a prison he who holds the key is king”. What do people today think about the afterlife? If death is the final taboo in our society, why is so much of our media obsessed with ghosts, vampires, zombies etc? Why is this message of hope in the face of death not more popular?
Jim reminded us that “when the word of God is preached, the voice of God is heard”. The voice of God still speaks today through this written testimony. Moreover, through the faithful, biblical ministry of our pastors, we hear God speak to us each week. The challenge to each one of us is this – are we listening and responding to the things God is saying to us? May God grant that we have ears to hear.