“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.” Revelation 1:17-18
In the Gospel of John, the beloved disciple emerges as a close, personal friend of the Lord. Along with Martha, Lazarus, and Mary, John is described explicitly in this Gospel as one whom Jesus loved. His position at the table during the Last Supper reflected not only honor but also closeness. John loved Jesus just as Jesus loved John Yet when Jesus appeared to him he fell at His feet as if dead. This was not the human Jesus, but the resurrected Jesus. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10) There are two kinds of fear, the fear of danger or harm and to have a reverential awe of something. John had reverential awe of Jesus. We need this kind of awe for Jesus.
‘I am the First and the Last’: This is the third time Messiah has used these names to refer to Himself. Used here, they remind us that redemption is about the establishment of the Kingdom, but also about intimacy between man and God. We need not fear life, because He is “The Living One.” We need not fear death, because He died and is alive, having conquered death. And we need not fear eternity because He holds the keys of hades and of death. The One with the keys is the One who has authority. At the very beginning of this book, Jesus presented Himself to His people in majestic glory. What the church needs today is a new awareness of Christ and His glory. We need to see Him “high and lifted up” (Isa. 6:1). There is a dangerous absence of awe and worship in our churches today. We are boasting about standing on our own feet, instead of breaking and falling at His feet.