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I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. - Revelation 19:11 (NIV)
At the time of this writing, it’s June 2018 and last week we witnessed a rare event in sports history as “Justify” became only the thirteenth horse in 68 years to capture the Triple Crown. In the Bluegrass, even the most uninterested Kentuckian gets excited about the possibility of one of these majestic beasts winning the crown. It starts in May when we gather around TV sets and backyard grills to watch the Kentucky Derby. Then, we check back in a few weeks later to see if the Derby winner can win the second leg up at the Preakness. If that happens, we get anxious and prepared for the day of reckoning at the Belmont in New York. As a fan of many sports, there’s nothing more impressive than watching a horse chase that crown.
What is it about a horse running a race with a tiny person on their back that’s so exciting? For me, I’m impressed by the strength and power of the horses. There’s a ton of strategy in horse racing that I’ll never understand. But what I do understand is the power of a horse. They’re huge and one big muscle! When those thoroughbreds run at top speed creating a thunderous sound, I get goosebumps.
Jesus is coming back and He’s not coming back quietly. We don’t have an image of Jesus riding on a cloud, in a Ferrari, or even in a monster truck. The image we have is Jesus on a horse - powerful, strong, swift, and majestic. That image is no accident. Our Savior is powerful, strong, swift, and majestic. His return will get our attention and will be THE day of reckoning. For some of us, that causes anxiety; for others, it causes excitement and hope. Where are you?
The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. - Revelation 19:14 (NIV)
I really like to win. I want my favorite teams to win every game. Winning is fun. Losing stinks.
As a UK basketball fan, we want to be number 1 in the nation every single year. If we aren’t, we are a pretty sad lot. And of course, we HAVE to be number 1 in our state. That means we have to top those UL Cardinals every chance we get. In 2012 on the road to winning it all, UK met UL in the final four. In the waning seconds with the game well in hand for the Cats, Anthony Davis marched down the floor touting, “This is my state!” It was pretty awesome.
In Revelation 19, Jesus is on a white horse and the armies with Him are wearing white. In the Bible, “white” is the color of victory. White means, “we won!” (Red is evil by the way--I’m looking at you, Louisville.) This Revelation is giving us a hint that Jesus and those who surrender to Him are victorious in the end. Ultimate victory is the state we live in.
Maybe you don’t feel like you’re in a winning state. Do you feel like you’re always in last place, forgotten, mistreated, or abused? If so, I’m sorry. That’s no state in which to live. But, take heart! Read the end of the book - WE WIN! We WILL wear white and we will tout proudly, “This is my state!”, as Jesus claims victory over the enemy who is set to destroy us. So hang in there. Follow Jesus, remain faithful, and keep your eyes fixed on the finish line. We win. This is our state!
His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. - Revelation 19:12 (NIV)
Did you watch the royal wedding? I have to admit I did. And I was incredibly moved by the whole thing. There’s something cool about “royal stuff” (that’s how a boy from Muhlenberg County refers to royalty). It may feel like a lot of fluff, but deep inside I think we all get a little envious of being a part of something royal. I want to be a king, a prince, or at least a court jester! Royalty is treated with honor and dignity and has access to all of the riches. I’d like to live that way.
In Revelation, Jesus rides a powerful horse symbolizing victory. He’s also wearing crowns. Did you catch that? He’s not wearing “a” crown, He’s wearing crownS. MANY crownS! We’ll talk more about that tomorrow. Today, we need to understand that our Savior is a King. He’s royalty. If you’ve ever wanted to be a part of royalty, take joy in knowing that you are and will be for all of eternity when you submit to Jesus. After that victory, we get to live in the presence of the King as a part of His royal family!
What I love about this picture is that the bride, who was not royal, has been forever united with one who is royal and she will be royal for the rest of her life. And this is what moved me while watching the wedding. I saw the image that when Jesus returns, we the Church - the Bride of Christ - will be united with the Royal One as we are brought into His “royal stuff” for all eternity. And with our royal status comes honor, dignity, and access to all of the riches of the Kingdom. I’m looking forward to living that way in the presence of the King!
Read Revelation 21:1-7. What are you most looking forward to as a member of God’s royal family?Share Tweet
On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords. - Revelation 19:16 (NIV)
Some things are the best of the best. Steak is the best food and Tony’s Steakhouse in Lexington has the best steak. It’s the best of the best when it comes to steak.
The NBA has the best basketball players in the world and Lebron James is the best of all of them. He’s the best of the best when it comes to hoops.
Yesterday we rested in the hope and promise that one day, we as followers of Jesus will be welcomed in as full-fledged members of God’s royal family. We saw in Revelation 19:12 that the image of Jesus returning has Him wearing not one crown, but many crowns. He’s not just a regular ol’ king with dominance over one territory. He’s the King of all kings and kingdoms. He has complete and total dominance over all of creation. He’s all-powerful. He has all authority. Jesus is the best of the best when it comes to kings.
It’s inspiring to know that we’re a part of God’s royal family. But let’s not get so wrapped up in what we get out of it that we miss the most important thing - the King. The kingdom is not about us. It’s all about the King. He is Supreme. He demands our attention. He is the center of our worship. He’s the beginning and end of all things. The kingdom is all about the King.
We have access to Jesus’ power, His victory, His royalty, and He welcomes us to enjoy the riches of His kingdom. Today, make an effort to keep your attention on the Giver of all good gifts and not on the blessings we receive in these gifts. He is the best of the best.
Read Colossians 1:15-23. Take a few minutes to worship Jesus by telling Him how grateful you are for Him and who He is.Share Tweet
With justice he judges and wages war. - Revelation 19:11 (NIV)
In the movie “12 Strong,” twelve members of the United States special forces are the first to respond in action to the attacks of September 11, 2001, and they roll into battle on the backs of horses. The story ends with the twelve soldiers accomplishing their mission and delivering a significant blow to the Taliban forces. These men on horses go up against tanks, suicide bombers, and rocket launchers -- and they win. This is one of those movies that makes you proud to be an American and proud of our armed forces. But the reality is, it wasn’t just a movie. These were real men on real horses in real battles that were bloody. Many fighters lost their lives in these battles even though our heroes were victorious.
In John’s revelation, we see Jesus ride in on a white horse to signify His victory in the war. But don’t overlook the war. We know we win, but this isn’t just a fairy tale--there’s a real war. There are real battles - bloody ones - there’s a real war and Jesus isn’t messing around. Lives will be lost. His faithful followers who fight the good fight every day against evil will be victorious. Those who give in to the enemy and choose not to surrender to Jesus will lose. His children are welcomed in while the wicked are destroyed.
Today, you’re in a battle and you will be again tomorrow. There are forces working to undermine your relationship with Jesus, hoping to destroy you. Jon taught about that in the first week of this series, “A Talking Snake”, if you missed it. You may be going up against tanks, but you have the power of the Rider on the white horse on your side. Are you using His power? Are you hanging in the fight?