Jesus is the key to salvation
Revelation 1:17-18 says: “…Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.”
In a day when fear and anxiety can overwhelm people, there is someone who is still calling out those words of comfort. In Revelation, the Apostle John had a vision and he sees Jesus Christ in his glorified state. He no longer looks like the loving Lord he knew on earth. It had been many years since Jesus rose from the dead but now he wants John to pass on some messages he has for Jesus’ followers. When John sees Jesus he describes his appearance as awesome and terrifying, so much so that John falls down in fear before him.
But what Jesus said to John should speak to every Christian in every generation. First, Jesus calls himself the first and the last. He was referring to being the Alpha and Omega or the beginning and end of the Greek alphabet. What comfort John must have received knowing Christ is the beginning and end of all things and he’s in control of everything in between.
But just in case there was any doubt who was speaking, Jesus describes himself as “the living one”. He lives even though he was crucified and buried. So in the Resurrection of Jesus, there’s real comfort from ALL fear.
As the old song says; “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future. And life is worth the living, just because He lives.” Jesus is the living one, he died and now lives forever and as the scriptures promise, “Whoever trusts in him, has everlasting life.”
Why was it important for Jesus to remind John that he died and yet lives? John was there at the crucifixion so surely he knew those facts. It was important because that’s the heart of the Gospel. While all have sinned and have no way to get to God, Jesus bore the sins of those who trust in him, and the fact that Jesus lives shows his sacrifice for sin was accepted.
1 Peter 2:24 says; “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” You can have the debt of sin healed when you believe in Jesus and obey his word. And that’s what Jesus finishes with as he spoke with John he said; “I have the keys of Death and Hades.”
Keys show authority and ownership, so Jesus has authority over and owns death and Hades. He showed his authority over death as he rose from the dead and said in John 3:16; “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
And Jesus owns Hades which speaks of the grave which ends in judgement. Judgement for sin is overcome by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Those who belong to Christ pass from death to life because he became sin for them, so they might be the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Have you trusted in Jesus? If not, consider him who has the keys to death and Hades.
Pastor Rich Lammay of High Sierra Fellowship is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers’ Association.