Topic: Resurrection Sunday Passage: Revelation 1:9–1:20
Community Group Discussion Questions: Revelation 1:9-20
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Read Revelation 1:9-20 as a group, and then work through the following questions.
- The Apostle John was one of Jesus’ closest earthly friends. Peter, James, and John were given greater access to Jesus (see Matt. 17:1-8, Mark 5:35-43, Mark 14:32-34), and among those three, John was known as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (see John 13:23-25, John 19:26-27). But now, this same John had been exiled as a political prisoner to the island of Patmos, and he was enabled by the Holy Spirit to see a vision of the risen Jesus Christ in all of his glory. When he saw Jesus, John “fell at this feet as though dead.” Why would someone so close to Jesus have this kind of reaction when he saw his greatness? Are love for Jesus and fear of Jesus mutually exclusive realities? How do they relate?
- In verses 12-13, John turns to see the voice that spoke to him, and he saw one “like a son of man” standing “among the lampstands.” Later, we learn that the lampstands represent the seven churches to whom John will write (see vs. 20), and because “seven” is a number symbolizing “completeness,” these seven churches represent all churches throughout Christian history. The name “son of man” makes reference to Daniel’s ancient prophesy that predicted a great king who would rule forever over all people (see Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14). What does John’s vision of Jesus, the Son of Man, standing among the lampstands, teach us about Jesus’ presence with his church? How would we view church differently if we were deeply aware of Jesus’ active presence among us?
- John’s vision of Jesus in verses 13-16 includes a number of powerful symbols: he was “clothed with a long robe,” symbolizing his high priestly role. “The hairs of his head were white like wool and snow,” showing his infinite wisdom, honor, and divinity (note that he Ancient of Days in Daniel’s prophesy had white hair). His eyes were “like a flame of fire” illustrating his all-knowing, all-seeing, piercing gaze into our hearts and lives. His feet were “like burnished bronze refined in a furnace” symbolizing awesome strength and pure power. His voice was “like the roar of waters” showing commanding authority. His right hand held “seven stars” which represent seven angels corresponding to the seven churches. This would communicate heavenly attentiveness toward and protection of the churches. And finally, “from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword.” This shows the power of Jesus’ word to judge and determine the eternal destiny of every human being. How does this view of Jesus challenge your usual thoughts of him? How would your relationship with Jesus change if you comprehended more fully his awesome power and majestic greatness?
- In verses 17-18, Jesus responds to John’s prostration by placing his right hand on him (the right hand symbolized authority and blessing) and telling him “fear not.” How does this moment compare to Isaiah’s vision of the pre-incarnate Christ, when the angel touches his lips with a hot coal? (See Isaiah 6:1-7). Why does fear turn to worship for those who have been touched by Jesus? Have you experienced this “turning point” in your life? When did it take place?
- Jesus gives John several reasons why he should not fear: First, because Jesus is “the first and the last” (he is eternal). Secondly, because Jesus is “the living one” (the “living God” and therefore, fully divine). Thirdly, because “he died” (making full payment for sin). Fourthly, because he is “alive forevermore” (he rose to life permanently, defeating death). And finally, “he holds the keys of Death and Hades” (he has all authority over death and the grave). Why should these descriptions of Jesus melt our fear away and give us hope and comfort in him?
- People often imagine a more genteel, harmless, mild and accepting Jesus than the Jesus John saw in his vision. A “smaller Jesus” is non-threatening and makes no demands on your life. However, this artificial Jesus is also powerless! Why do we need the awesome and glorious Jesus of John’s vision if we really want to be saved from sin, Satan, death, and hell?
- How should a view of Jesus like John saw affect our worship as a church? How should this view of Jesus affect our personal devotion to Jesus and our passion for him in our everyday lives?
Prayer exercise: spend time as a group repenting of “small thoughts” of Jesus and worshiping and thanking him for the awesome God that he is. Invite the living Christ to transform our lives and empower us to walk worthy of his awesome name.