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Seeing Our Savior: Revelation 1:9-20

We all know the famous statement, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but have you ever stopped to really consider it? We’re not quite sure the origin of the phrase, but we have several writings from the 1800s that show its growing popularity. Apparently ingenious showmen for centuries had been spending more effort on the book covers and illustrations than the actual content itself. In doing so, they enticed the passersby into purchasing a book that looked intriguing but was entirely void of substance. If we were to reinvent the statement today, it might sound something like, don’t judge: “an album by its cover,” “a movie by its trailer,” “an applicant by their resume,” or “a product by its advertising.” Just to give a few examples that you can probably relate to!

Why was this phrase so popular, that it worked its way into everyday English language? Because we are oh so prone to judging books by their covers. Our time is valuable after all, and we are impatient. So when we see that slick advertisement campaign promising to solve a big problem in our lives, we are vulnerable to purchasing right away instead of “wasting” our time on research. If we weren’t so gullible as a culture, advertisements would go back to presenting information and opportunities instead of making frivolous emotional appeals. I digress.

This analogy shows that in the same way we cannot tell the content and quality of a book by its cover, we cannot judge by appearances alone. We must dig deeper if we are to fully understand something or someone. Yes, we judge people by their covers all the time too. It reminds me of the famous Bible verse, “man looks at outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” We need to move past first impressions and carefully listen to others in order to know them. In the case of Samuel’s examination of the sons of Jesse, to anoint the next king of Israel, all the older, taller, more muscular sons were not fit in God’s eyes to be King. The LORD chose David, and His justification was 1 Samuel 16:7.

This tendency to rush to judgement scares me. I do it. We all do. We stereotype and judge without taking time to really listen to others and get to know them. I submit to you the most dangerous instance of this is when we do it to Jesus. Most of what we know of Christ comes from His four biographies, the Gospels. We find in them priceless, timeless, treasures of wisdom and encouragement that invite us to know and serve Jesus. But while the Gospels contain Jesus, Jesus is not contained by the Gospels. What we see in the Gospels, according to Philippians chapter 2, is a humbled Christ, having taken on human flesh and the role of a servant. But there is oh so much more to Him than that! John states this in the final verse of his Gospel- that if all the things Jesus did were written down, not even the whole world would have room for these writings.

This weekend we look at Revelation 1:9-20, where the same Apostle John paints for us a picture of Christ that will help us grow to a deeper understanding of who Jesus is. In fact, this might be the most complete picture we see of the exalted Christ anywhere in the Bible. It is an essential image that must be burned into our minds, if we are to grow in our understanding of our Savior.

I invite you to join with us this weekend as we look at our Savior together. Our socially distanced service is Saturday afternoon at 3:30, and our Sunday morning service is at 10:15, where you can join us online or in person. We also have Sunday School classes at 9 for all ages.

Have a great weekend and I look forward to pursuing Christ, Community, and the Great Commission Together with you soon!

-Pastor Nathan Rice

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