Occupational therapy!  That’s what my CrossFit workouts resemble.  Occupational therapy teaches you how to do familiar things in a new and easier way in order to accommodate physical weaknesses or limitations.  I have come to accept that I am, almost without exception, the oldest guy in our CrossFit box.  I am the king of what they call “modifications” and “scaled” workouts.  Rare is the WOD in which I can click Rx on my results.   One modification, I have yet to be able to make, however, is to get the rest of my Wod-mates to accept and acknowledge that 80’s rock is the best music to set the pace for the workout.  My hips don’t hop, and the only pop I am concerned about is the pop in my knee.      

One of my favorites from those BC days was Rush.  Their innovative musicality coupled with evocative lyricism resonated with me as a teenager.   A favorite album was Moving Pictures.  The album’s concept was the great power of poetry and music to tell moving stories – moving pictures. 

Probably all of us have been moved to sorrow, joy, reflection or action by an iconic song, picture or story.  But no story has more moving pictures than the story of redemption, unfolded in the Bible, with its themes of mercy and grace and good triumphing over evil.  The Bible is no mere moralistic litany, it is a living and active story of a mighty hero who through self-sacrifice and great power defeated the arch-enemy of all men, sin and death.  In every vignette, every chapter, this story is unveiled.

Everywhere you look in scripture you see moving pictures of Jesus.  With Abraham on Mt. Moriah, Jesus is there.   With Mephibosheth at David’s table, Jesus is there.   With fearful disciples on the stormy Sea of Galilee, Jesus is there.   And in the midst of seven Asian churches facing persecution and turmoil, Jesus is there.   Painted in the words of Scripture, these moving pictures reveal the presence and power of a Savior who is “God with Us.” While Scripture never describes what Jesus looks like, it thoroughly describes what Jesus is like.  

Nowhere is this idea more vividly portrayed than in John’s inaugural vision in the Revelation.   This vision of Christ among the golden lampstands, is, as pastor Richard Phillips noted.

… representative of God’s intention for the entire book.  John is suffering oppression because of his faith in Jesus.  This first vision sets before him the sovereign glory of Christ, complete with emblems of his triumphant, saving work, so that John will be encourage to endure in worship of and service to his Lord.” 

Reformed Expository Commentary on Revelation, Richard Phillips.

We must fix our eyes on the mighty and victorious Jesus revealed only in Scripture.   Not just the Jesus who was, but the Jesus who is and who is to come.  The one who is the same yesterday, today and forever, the Living One, who died, but is now alive forevermore.  The One who holds the keys to death and hell.   As the author of Hebrews encourages us.

Run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:2-3

Adversity is ingrained in the Christian life.   Victory is gained not through avoiding, but overcoming it.   John Calvin observed, “the church of Christ has been so divinely constituted from the beginning that the Cross has been the way to victory, death the way to life.”  Strength to endure adversity, tribulation, and turmoil, comes not from some place deep within us, but from the depths of knowing Christ.  

Join us this week as we continue our survey Revelation as we examine Revelation 1:9-20 and consider how this opening vision reveals, not what Jesus looks like, but what Jesus is like so we might fix our eyes on Him, know Him, and run with endurance.

We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock for worship.  Get directions here or contact us for more info.  You can also join us on Facebook Live @RiverCityARP or on YouTube.