To become a Christian it is not only important to believe in what Jesus did for us, namely, that He died on the cross for our sins and rose again from the dead, but it is equally important that we believe the truth about who Jesus really is: that He is the eternal Son of God whom we will glorify and worship forever as God. Ever since the days of His earthly ministry, this truth has been under attack. The tendency is always to reduce Him to the level of a good man or a prophet or even in some cases, to the belief that He is a man whom God lifted up into a special relationship with Himself which mighty be called sonship. I believe John wrote his gospel with this primary purpose in mind: to end the confusion by reporting to us what Jesus said about Himself (Jn 20:30, 31). Over and over again, in Johns gospel we hear Jesus invite people to believe in Him. He did not merely teach people how to walk with God, He invited then to see who He is and be saved. For anyone else to say such things would be blasphemy arising from insanity or a willingness to engage in vicious religious manipulation. But Jesus was not a liar or a manipulator. He was Gods Son sent from heaven to earth where He humbled Himself to become a man and die for us. In Johns visions of the New Jerusalem He sees Jesus again sharing equal glory with His Father. Lets join John as he beholds Jesus so that we too might believe in Him and have eternal life (Jn 6:40).
A. The Temple and the Garden
As John closes his book of revelation (and the Bible), he is shown images which bring two great biblical themes to completion.
1) The tabernacle / temple
No temple: all the city is holy (v 22)
No lamp: the shekinah fills the city (and universe) (v 23)
No exclusion: the city is full of Gentile believers (every nation, tougue and tribe) (vs 24-26)
No one unclean: unwashed (v 27) (Rev 22:14)
No veil: all are free to behold His face (v 22:4) (Ex 19:20-25; 24:9-11, 17; 33:18-23)
No priests: His name is on every forehead (v 22:4) (Rev 3:12; 14:1; Ex 28:36 a plate of pure gold
Holy to the Lord on the priests turban)
2) The garden of Eden
No cherubim or flaming sword (v 22:2) (Ge 3:22-24)
Many trees of life (v 22:2)
- Twelve kinds of fruit (constantly inviting us to eat)
- Leaves: the Gentiles are healed as well (Isa 56:1-8).
No curse (v 22:3) (Ge 3:16-19)
B. The Exaltation of the Lamb
1) Johns vision declares God the Father and God the Son to be equally divine. The presence of God which transforms the entire city into a temple is attributed not only the Father (the Lord God the Almightly), but also to the Son (the Lamb). The two are paired side by side. The Father and Son:
Are the temple of the city (v 22)
Provide its light (v 23)
Sit on its throne (22:1, 3)
2) Yet they are two distinct persons:
The Father sits on the throne; the Lamb takes the scroll. (Rev 5:1, 6, 7)
3) John is telling us the season of the Lambs humbling has come to an end. Paul and Hebrews will help us understand:
Jesus pre-existed sharing equal glory with God (Php 2:5-11).
He humbled Himself to become a man so He could die for us (Php 2:5-11).
This is the Fathers doing and He is glorified when we worship
For a little while lower than the angels (He 2:5-9)
All things are not yet subjected to Him (v 8)
Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 1:13 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet
5) In these final visions John sees Jesus again sharing equal glory with His Father. Both: Are the temple (v 22); light the city (v 23); sit on the throne (22:1, 3); are the source of the water of life (22:1); will be worshipped (22:3)
6) This is not the deification of a man. It is the return of the eternal Son of God to His rightful place.
C. Jesus Statements about Himself
1) That Jesus is the unique, divine begotten Son of God is the central Christian truth. It is this truth which is attacked by all other religions (Islam, rabbinic Judaism, liberal Christianity, oneness Pentecostalism, Christian Science, Jehovahs Witnesses, Mormonism, secular humanism (every Christmas and Easter). But heres what Jesus said: John 10:30-42; John 14:8-11 I am in the Father and the Father is in Me
2) What does this mean? Jesus explains His union with the Father in His high priestly prayer (Jn 17:1-26). He is:
Begotten: Your Son (v 1)
Led, obedient (v 4)
Glorified: sharing the honor and worship due the Father (v 5)
Sent: from heaven to earth (vs 8, 18)
One: the harmonious relationship of two or more persons, not the existence of only a single person (v 21)
Loved: perfect love which puts the needs of the beloved first (v 26)
3) Jesus is telling us that He and the Father are two persons who share the same:
Purpose (the will of the Father)
Glory (worship, honor)
Love (preference for one another)
4) Such purity of relationship is virtually unknown to us as humans. This is why its so hard for us to understand.
What happens when we believe the truth about Jesus? (Jn 14:12-14; 6:32-40)
1) We will be empowered to continue doing the same ministry Jesus did (v 12)
If I am one with Jesus as He is with the Father He will give me His authority just as the Father gave Him authority.
2) Jesus, as the divine Son of God, will answer our prayers (which glorifies the Father) (vs 13, 14)
Our faith need not labor to try to make a miracle happen, but can rest on the divinity and authority of Jesus Christ.
3) We will receive eternal life (Jn 6:32-40)
1) Pretend you were going to explain the relationship of the Father and Son to an eight year old child. What would you say?
2) Why did God have to send His Son to die for us rather than select a very good human?
3) Jesus is fully God and fully man. Explain as best you can how that can be.