Revelation 1:17-18 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
Have we ever thought of what our response would be if the Lord took us to heaven in the Spirit as He did the Apostle John? I imagine the nature of the encounter with Jesus could take on many forms. I wonder if John ever thought about such a thing happening – and if he did, did he think that his response upon seeing Jesus would be to fall at his feet as though dead.
Of all the apostles, he is the one identified as having a special relationship with Jesus. He is repeatedly described as the ‘one whom Jesus loved’. That doesn’t mean that Jesus didn’t love the others; it’s just that John’s relationship with the Lord had a special love element of closeness in it. For me, that is what makes his response in this encounter with Jesus so stirring and provocative.
We tend to think along the lines of Jesus warmly embracing someone (one of His own) who goes to heaven and encounters Him. Sort of a welcome home, like the father greeting the prodigal son. Joy and gladness just overflowing – and that might be the way it normally occurs. But here we have something very different. Does our understanding of God and the relationship that we have with Him include the aspect of what is revealed in this verse? Can we see ourselves responding to Jesus as John did?
The fear of the Lord and the love of God are two sides of the same coin. Jesus’ first words to John after falling at His feet as though dead were “Do not be afraid.” It’s vital that we understand that although we are recipients of God’s love and are His children through faith in Jesus, He is the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. In Revelation 5:11-12 John gives this glorious description:
Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12 In a loud voice they sang:
“Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!”
This is our Savior and Lord. He is the One who died for us and rose from the dead. He is the One who loves and treasures us so; the One that we have the incredible privilege to love each and every day of our lives. May we fully embrace His ways so that our lives do just that!