How do you think about Jesus? Do you think about Him as a gentle teacher? Perhaps you think of Him as a righteously angry political dissident. Maybe you think about Him as a suffering servant, taking the punishment of the cross in your place. While all of these descriptors are characteristic of Jesus found in scripture, I would submit to you that on their own, they are incomplete. Yes, Jesus was a lovingly gentle teacher. Yes, He was a political dissenter who spoke out against injustice. Yes, He was the suffering servant who died on the cross. But, He is not singularly one of these. He is the Messiah.
Far too often believers (and nonbelievers) uphold Jesus as His pre-resurrection self. They fixate on the Jesus who taught on the hillside, or drove out the money-changers from the temple, or voluntarily went to the cross. But Jesus did not remain as such; He was resurrected and glorified. The problem in focusing on one element of Jesus' pre-resurrection self is that in doing so, you downgrade His other elements. So if a peaceful life marked by wise living is important to you, you may focus on Jesus the teacher, but you miss Jesus the social reformer and Jesus the sacrificial lamb. If righting societal wrongs is important to you, then you may focus on Jesus the social reformer, but miss Him as the wise teacher and sacrificial lamb. If the forgiveness of sins is important to you, you may leave Jesus on the cross, and fail to recognize him as a wise teacher and a social reformer. Each one of these by themselves is an incomplete picture of who Jesus truly is. The book of Revelation gives us a more clear picture.
In Rev. 1:12-16, John receives a vision of the resurrected, glorified Jesus. It says, “Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around His chest. The hairs of His head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, His feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and His voice was like the roar of many waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, from His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and His face like the sun shining in full strength.”
This Jesus—the resurrected-Messiah Jesus—is not solely being nailed to the cross for punishment we deserve. He is not solely engaging in public dissent as a member of society, and He is not solely gently teaching wisdom to his hearers. He is resurrected and glorified. He is the authority. Keep reading in Revelation and you will see that Jesus holds the keys of Death and Hades. He has overcome death and therefore has dominion over death. Jesus is not someone to heed as one with good advice. Jesus is one to obey. Jesus is Lord. He is ruler. He is King.
Oh, but hallelujah, He is also loving! Hallelujah, He is also patient and kind! He is indeed gentle like a dove. He does indeed right the wrongs of society. He has indeed paid the cost of our sin. In a grand act of glorification, He has moved towards us in grace, so that we might know Him and enjoy for eternity. How can this be? How can a holy God desire to know sinful humanity? How can the one we read about in Revelation, who is clothed in majesty and power, who rightly has the authority to punish sin, elect to woo us to Himself in love and grace? Yet He has.
How then should we respond? Ought we to be apathetic, or unmoved, or self-satisfied? By all means no! We ought to consider the mind-bending truth of the gospel every hour. We ought to respond in whole-hearted worship, at the very thought that God has not destroyed us in our sin. We ought to let our minds wander about the glories of our savior, the mystery of His will, and the depths of His love. We ought to long to see Him face-to-face. We ought to spend our days coming to know him more deeply, and telling others how they can know this great God, this savior, this resurrected Messiah.
This Messiah is Alpha and Omega. He is the beginning and the end. He is lion and lamb. He is the firstborn of the dead. He is the living one. He is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. He is and was and is to come. He is Jesus; I wish I could describe Him to you.