Face-to-Face with Jesus
...His Countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.
-Revelation 1:16, emphasis added
There are so many pictures of Jesus in our minds. From Sunday school lessons to The Jesus Movie, we have countless images that float by us in life. God’s Word gives us the only exact picture of Christ’s face in the entire universe.
As the apostle John prayed and adored God through His Son, Jesus Christ, he heard a sound and turned—it was Jesus! But it was not the Jesus he was used to seeing, or that we think of in pictures and movies. It was the real Lord Jesus Christ.
First, John saw Jesus’ eyes, which were as flaming fires penetrating like laser beams. Then he heard the voice of Jesus, thunderous and big, bigger than anything on earth. After that he saw His face of glory shining “like the sun”—and it changed John’s life!
Something fascinating about Jesus and the sun is revealed in the first chapter of Genesis. On the fourth day of creation, God said, “Let there be lights … in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. Then God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also (Genesis 1:14-16).
Just by Jesus speaking a few words, the sun suddenly appeared ninety-three million miles out from earth! Isn’t that absolutely amazing? It just flamed to life. Traveling at the speed of light, it may have taken about eight minutes for the first warmth and light from the sun to get to the earth. Then the moon started reflecting that light on the backside of the planet. That is phenomenal!
One of the most amazing statements in the Bible is the last five words of verse 16: He made the stars also. In that short sentence God describes what scientists cannot comprehend—the limitless expanse of the rest of the universe. Jesus put some of those stars in spiral galaxies, some of them in beautiful filmy nebulae, and others of them in clusters of galaxies. Then he made one hundred billion stars just in our own Milky Way Galaxy. “He made the stars also” reads almost like a postscript.
Among those many stars, our sun is an average “yellow” star. It is in the middle as far as size, temperature, and brightness. As you read this, think of what it must have been like for John to see Jesus’ face shining “like the sun”:
In the Orion constellation there are two stars of note. Rigel is 15,000 times brighter than our sun, and thus hotter and so on. Antares is 36 million times bigger! At the center, or core of our sun, things are incredibly hot. The atoms stripped of their outer electrons are so densely packed it is absolutely dark and intensely hot. In fact, it is 16 million degrees centigrade.1
How hot is “16 million degrees centigrade”? A piece of the sun the size of a pinhead would kill you one hundred miles away because of the heat radiating from it! The energy radiated from the sun in one second is more than all the energy used on the earth since Creation!
So, on a Sunday, 1,900 years ago on Patmos—a barren speck of rock just sixteen miles square and fifteen miles from nowhere in the Mediterranean Sea—John heard a voice and turned and saw the face of Jesus shining like the sun! And what did that do to him? It flattened him: When I saw him, I fell at His feet as dead (Revelation 1:17).
What happens when a person comes face-to-face with Christ in all His power and glory? It smites us with an overwhelming sense of our humanity: our fallen nature and our weakness. Do you remember Isaiah’s response when he saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and heard the seraphim crying out: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” (Isaiah 6:3)? He said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! … for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:5).
A face-to-face encounter with Jesus Christ cannot help but strike us with His majesty and His glory. As His creatures, we would want to respond by worshiping Him, and that is exactly what John does. Have you met Jesus face-to-face? Have you responded in heartfelt worship? A genuine encounter with Jesus Christ is life changing!
My Prayer for You This Week: Father in heaven, from the depth of our beings, from the center of all we are, we want to be found worthy when we stand before You face-to-face; we want to be there clothed in Your righteousness. We don’t know when You are going to come or call us home. It could be that the days written in Your book for us end this week. We pray that we would therefore be those who live for You, Lord Jesus, a life that is true and right. I pray that You, Holy Spirit, will put Your finger into the hearts of each one of us and point out those untoppled idols, those unforsaken sins, those unrestrained areas of flesh in our lives, and that we would say, “Lord, I don’t want to be found living, talking, acting, or doing that in my last momenst when You come or call for me.” I pray that we would make those choices while we’re thinking about getting ready to stand before You with all the redeemed, with all the angelic hosts, saying, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty.” We love You, Lord! Captivate our hearts we pray! In the name of Jesus. Amen.
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