In the most recent version of King Kong (2005), there is a scene almost 2 hours into the movie where the blonde is being chased as prey by the T-Rex. Kong has been fighting with them throughout the long fall into this valley. As the dino prepares to attack, Kong crashes to the ground, prepared for battle. The girl is positioned between them, and has a critical choice to make. Do I make a break for it and go it on my own, or do I take my stand with one of these powers that competes for my life? King Kong has shown in the past that he is stronger than any enemy, and that he cares for her, will stand by her, plans to defend her, and will sacrifice himself for her if need be to save her life. In great fear, but decisively, she moves over to stand in front of the King, facing the T-Rex with him behind her.
You have to know who to stand with. When life is pushing in around you, and problems seem overwhelming, or people are just oppressive, and your situations are just collapsing, you quickly become aware of your inadequacies and vulnerabilities. Whether it’s health, job, friendship, marriage, intellectual, or financial problems, you realize that there are powers at work around you that are not under your control, and you need to find a place to stand where you will not only be safe, but where some power will come along side of you, and the two of you will band together. That’s what this text of Revelation is about.
Every description of Jesus in these verses is aimed at letting you know that he is stronger than any other power, that he cares for you, will stand by you, defend you, and sacrifice himself to save your life.
WHO WAS, WHO IS, AND WHO IS TO COME
The section starts and ends with eternity, referring to Jesus. The point is that things don’t escape him. He sees it all. He doesn’t get surprised. He doesn’t change. He has your back, your front, your past, your present, and your future. He is the great I AM (Ex. 3.14). He was in the beginning with God (Jn. 1.2), and he is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13.8). What problems you are having, it doesn’t escape him, and he has you. You may not feel it or see it, but it’s the reality that you need to understand.
Martin Luther spoke of it in the great poem he penned, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”
A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe
His craft and pow’r are great, and, armed with cruel hate, On earth is not his equal.
Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing,
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same, And He must win the battle.
And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us;
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure, One little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly pow’rs, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth;
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still, His kingdom is forever.
You need to know where to stand. Stand with the one who has the power, the one who wins, the one who cares about you, and the one who sacrifices to save you. That’s Jesus. What benefits does he bring with him?
1. Grace to you. It’s his willingness to forgive, and give you the benefit of the doubt. Where he’ll let things go, and let them wash away. God isn’t an ogre waiting to punish you to every wrong, but a forgiving Father extending grace. America isn’t too generous with grace nowadays. God is always generous with his grace.
2. Peace to You. Your soul at rest because you understand, and therefore things just don’t shake you. Jesus was like this. You just couldn’t rattle the guy. His inside was so smooth with confidence and knowledge, and he didn’t rattle. He was a man of peace—a prince, actually. I want that. The peace that always knows a deep breath and a smile. The stillness that when the storm crushes me from the side, I still breathe deeply and smile. It hits me, but it doesn’t get to me. I know better. I am a man of peace. That’s what Jesus gives.
3. The Faithful Witness. He knows the truth and tells it. He tells all that needs to be known without leaving out anything essential. If I were in court, I’d want someone testifying who knows the truth and tells it reliably. I’d want someone there who is characterized by honesty and integrity, who view is not skewed or biased. That’s Jesus. Even at his trial his accusers couldn’t identify an untruth he had told. Stand with truth.
4. The Firstborn from the dead. It’s a title of the Messiah (Ps. 89.27), a title of rank of King, and a title of power. To me it also speaks of somebody who’s been to the other side, lived to tell about it, and whose first-hand experience of heaven, hell, time and eternity give him credibility. That’s Jesus. Stand with the guy who’s been there/done that.
5. The One who loves you. Oh, not a mushy love, but a powerful one that sets you free. It says he freed us from our sins, made us a people together under the authority of a beneficent ruler, and put us all in a position of access to God, participating in a relationship with him. Stand with the one who loves you.
6. He is coming in glory and power. We are not deserted, despite what it may look or feel like. He was there at the beginning; he’ll be there at the end. Nothing gets away from him. Stand with the one full of glory and power.
When your world is collapsing, you need to know where to stand.