Read with Me

 Revelation 19:11-16 (HCSB)
Then I saw heaven opened, and there was a white horse. Its rider is called Faithful and True, and He judges and makes war in righteousness. His eyes were like a fiery flame, and many crowns were on His head. He had a name written that no one knows except Himself. He wore a robe stained with blood, and His name is the Word of God. The armies that were in heaven followed Him on white horses, wearing pure white linen. A sharp sword came from His mouth, so that He might strike the nations with it. He will shepherd them with an iron scepter. He will also trample the winepress of the fierce anger of God, the Almighty. And He has a name written on His robe and on His thigh:

 Listen with Me

John is next shown a picture of Jesus. This picture is rich in imagery, each element graphically portraying a facet of Jesus’ identity and mission.

The abundance of white shown in the vision represents Jesus’ purity. Not only is He holy as God the Son, but He also lived His entire earthly life without committing a single sin. He is also represented as perfectly just in all his actions, including His decision about who He chooses to make war against. Just as in Noah’s flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, God’s people do not need to fear. Even in His making war against those who have been persecuting His people, He will not sweep away the righteous with the unrighteous. Instead, He will shelter them, take them out of the way of the destruction (Genesis 18: 25).

One of the reasons that Jesus’ absolute justice can be relied on is His being depicted as having eyes like fire which can accurately see even into the darkest recesses of the heart. Nothing is hidden from his sight.

Jesus is depicted as wearing a multitude of crowns. This shows that He is the true ruler of all the kingdoms of the world, the divine King of all kings and Lord of all lords.

Jesus white robe, as well as the white clothing of all the heavenly army, symbolizes purity. But Jesus’ robe alone has been drenched with blood. This symbolizes that His authority to judge those on earth stems from His laying down His own life and pouring out His blood. He is not an ivory-tower kind of divine judge, but one who has lived and worked on the earth over which He was now exercising His divine authority.

Jesus is identified as the divine Word of God (John 1:1-3, 14). The sharp double-edged sword coming from His mouth symbolizes the power of both His presence and His word, which is living and active, and can divide soul from spirit and can even judge the desires and thoughts of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

Some have tried mightily to figure out the hidden name that Jesus bears (verse 12). But that is a fruitless pursuit that has no benefit for the people of the kingdom. Even John was not shown its meaning. The name that is significant, not only for the people of the kingdom, but for all humanity, is the name that Jesus prominently displays for all to see: King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the ruler of all humanity, and those who refuse to acknowledge that do so to their own ruin!

Pray with Me

Father, this is an amazing portrait of Jesus, one which should inspire confidence and boldness in the heart of every believer, and fear and dread in the heart of all who refuse to bow their knees to Jesus as Lord. We do not serve a gentle teacher, but the almighty Son of God, the divine and completely righteous Judge of all humanity, and the one who fights boldly on behalf of all His people. Help me, Lord, to live into that reality with confidence and boldness as I shine forth your light into the dark spaces all around me today. Amen.