The Sunday School lesson was on Matthew 16 where Jesus asks His disciples what the scuttlebutt was about Him. “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (Matt. 16:13)
After hearing what they had to say about what others thought, Jesus turns to them and asks, “But who do you say that I am?” (Matt. 16:15). Peter speaks up and identifies Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
The Sunday School teacher asked the class, “What wrong ideas do people have about Jesus and what do we tell them about Him?” That question provoked a number of helpful observations about what and how to tell others about Jesus.
One person made an interesting comment. He said that often we are too constrained in our descriptions about Jesus. We shortchange what could be said about Him and what should be said about Him to give others a proper understanding of His identity and mission.
That person’s comment rings true, particularly when the class had just been addressing who Jesus was not and presented with who He was in Matthew 16. In just those few verses Jesus is identified by four titles, each of which could comprise a lesson in itself – Jesus, Son of Man, the Christ, the Son of the living God.
And this doesn’t take into account the rich variety of descriptors found throughout Scripture, such as shepherd, light, rock, forgiver of sins, image of the invisible God, Son of David, the Word, Immanuel, I AM.
The challenge of giving people a fuller picture of Jesus is daunting but it is a challenge that is met in the book of Revelation.
One of the purposes of Revelation is to help us to see Jesus. When the book says it is “the revelation of Jesus Christ (Rev. 1:1),” it is not only a communication from Jesus it is a communication about Jesus.
Listen to John’s description in the early verses of the letter:
Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty’” (Rev. 1:4–8).
Later in the first chapter of Revelation we read: “I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death” (17–18).
Our eyes are filled with descriptions of Jesus as we work our way through the remainder of the book of Revelation. Old Testament titles, phrases, and images are brought to bear to display the glory of Christ the Lord.
In His tri-fold office as Messiah He is shown to be the prophet who brings the final word of God to bear and is Himself the one spoken about, the word incarnate. He is both the priest who offers the ultimate sacrifice and is Himself the apt sacrifice offered. As king He is the suffering servant who is given all authority in heaven and earth.
Throughout, Jesus is displayed as the one we are to worship and to whom we are to render our undivided allegiance. He is the king, the king of kings. He reigns now and will reign in uncontested, unabated, unending fullness.
A greater apprehension and appreciation of the glory of Christ is not only a matter for what we tell unbelievers. It relates to us as believers. At the close of his second epistle Peter lays before us our mandate: “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen” (2 Pet. 3:18).
“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work” (2 Thess. 2:16–17).
Scripture quotations marked NKJV are from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright ©1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Those marked ESV are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.