One of the scariest moments of my life occurred when I was about six years old. Our family was vacationing on the Potomac River. One afternoon, as we decided to cross the big river in a small wooden ski boat, the sky suddenly became blacker than any I have seen before or since. The placid waters upon which I had learned to water ski that week became pitching waves, big enough to surf. What took my fears to an all-time high were the words spoken by the captain of our overcrowded and undersized craft: “We have little gas and no anchor.” The thought of being anchorless, adrift and helpless, caused raw terror.
It was on such a turbulent “sea” of confusion, fear, and uncertainty that the book of Revelation was written. John, the aged apostle, is in an involuntary exile on Patmos “because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.” Meanwhile on the mainland, the people of God are involved in a deadly conflict with the world. Intense spiritual warfare is escalating. Persecution is no longer occasional and local, but regular and widespread. And within the church’s gates, heresy, immorality, and worldliness are growing as the second century prepares to dawn.
At such a time, and to such a people, John writes of a Sovereign Lord and a Savior Lamb. There is no trace of panic, fear, or defeatism. Instead, there is encouragement, insight, worship, and hope! What do those believers, and we today, most need at this time and in every season of life? We need to see Jesus! He is our anchor! Until Jesus returns, life won’t be without its storms, but we’ll never experience a Christ-absent day.
To see Jesus is to have hope. His complete triumph over sin and all evil is the dominant theme of Revelation. Jesus is set forth as everything we need in life and in death, in prosperity and in adversity, in joy and in tribulation. John is making the point that the main question in life is “How big and how good is your Jesus?”
Consider what God wants us to know about our Savior in chapter 1 alone: Jesus is the “faithful witness.” We can trust him without hesitation, for he is the Word of God, truth incarnate. Jesus is “the ruler of the kings of the earth” — right now, not in the distant future. We can be sure that our God reigns and has no rivals. And Jesus is “the firstborn from the dead” who “has freed us from our sins by his blood.” His resurrection guarantees ours. His shed blood secured our forever freedom. What greater comfort can be found than to know that the Lord of the universe has set his affection on us — even us! Jesus is the prophet, priest, and king we always wanted, and always needed — the Yes to every promise God has made.
— from Chapter 1: The Foundation of All Hope (p. 8-9)