I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. (Revelation 1:8 NIV)
Exiled on an island for his faith in Jesus, the beloved disciple sees the risen Christ. Falling at His feet “as though dead,” John is told not to fear because although once dead, Jesus now lives for ever and ever (Revelation 1:9, 17-18). The living Jesus met John in his loneliness and fear to remind him that his suffering for God and His kingdom was well worth it. This wasn’t a fairy tale that John was told to uphold. In keeping with Jesus’ “I Am” statements in his Gospel, John now adds a new one, “I am the Living One,” in the book of Revelation, which he also authored.
Don’t you just love the past tense in today’s verse, “I was dead”? Every Easter and at Communion, we remember Jesus’ brutal death, but I love how Jesus also reminds John – and us – “I am alive for ever and ever!” This same Jesus wants to resurrect every one of us, so that we, too, can say, “I was dead but now I live.” No matter our past, we can have a brighter future because of Jesus. He has authority and control over death.