Thursday, April 11, 2013

Our authority through Jesus

John writing to the churches

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Revelation 1:1-20

TO CHEW ON: "John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace … from 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." - Revelation 1:4-6

What a lot of information about Jesus and what His life, death, and resurrection have accomplished for us is crammed into this greeting from John to his readers.

John begins by calling Jesus a witness [martus - our word martyr comes from martus. It means one who testifies to the truth he has experienced.] Though martus doesn't in itself imply death, many first-century  witnesses gave their lives for what they had witnessed. May some of us be called to do the same?

John calls Jesus "the firstborn from the dead" reminding his readers of how Christ defeated death at the resurrection. "Firstborn" tells us that He was only the first and that others will also be triumphant over death.

Now Jesus is exalted the "rulers offer the kings of the earth." We recall the martyr Stephen's view of him: "'Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God'" - Acts 7:56.

The next line of John's greeting brings Jesus close and personal to each one of us who accepts Him: "To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood." We are clean and accepted!

But our life with Him doesn't stop there. John addresses our future (or is it also our present?): "Jesus Christ … has made us kings and priests to His God and Father." Jack Hayford sums it up well in my Bible's sidebar article:

"In prefacing the broad arenas of prophecy about to be unfolded, John addresses two very important present truths: 1] We, Christ's redeemed, are loved and are washed from our sins—a present state. 2] We, through His glorious dominion have been designated 'kings and priests' to God—also a present calling. Thus these dual offers give perspective on our authority and duty and how we most effectively may advance the kingdom of God" - Jack Hayford, "Worship and the Kingdom" - New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1816, 1817).

I don't know about you, but on most days I don't feel like a king or priest. By faith I want to believe and live in this fact, praying that Jesus' life in mine will give it such kingly, priestly authority.

From a book I've been reading:

"The Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk; it is a matter of power. This is not arrogance, as though you and I did something to deserve this authority. It is about Jesus, for Jesus and with Jesus …. Praying with authority is not about being cocky, it is about exercising His power. The authority to do so is cultivated through deep and consistent intimacy with Him" - Chad Norris, Signs and Wonders and a Baptist Preacher, Kindle Locations 1195, 1247.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for these reminders that I am a witness, that I am clean, and that I now have authority. Help me to exercise that authority in my day-to-day life. Amen.

MORE: "On the Authority" - Gaither Vocal Band


The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. - Used with permission.
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