As a young man, John had known Christ as his teacher and friend. He believed that Christ would rule in the future, as the judge of all people. He very much desired that to happen. In fact, he even asked Christ to allow him to sit in the place of honour, next to him (Mark 10:35-37).
Now as an old man, John had seen in an extraordinary manner Christ as the perfect judge. He had seen what it means for Christ to have all honour, authority and power. The effect of this was to fill John with fear. John fell to the ground, as Daniel had done in Daniel 10:7-11.
It is a terrible thing to have a judge who knows everything. We are all guilty of wrong deeds against God. We have offended against his holy law, and he knows it. Nobody can appeal against his perfect judgements. Nobody can stand against his power.
Christ saw Johnís fear, so he reached out to John in love. John did not need to be afraid, because Christ is still the same God (Hebrews 13:8). He has not changed; he never changes. He has always been the judge of all people; he will always be the God whose love and kindness are great (Exodus 34:6-7). He has established a right relationship with his people; he will never forget his promises to them. By his death, he has saved them and he has forgiven their evil deeds. They did not earn that right relationship with God; it is Godís free gift to them.
Christ has to act as judge in order to deal with the evil forces that still have power in this world. The Book of Revelation describes how he will do that. Then he will live with his people in the New Jerusalem, and his rule will never end.
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© 2016, Keith Simons.