We Would See Jesus

Bible Book: Revelation  1
Subject: Jesus
Series: Revelation

Children in Vacation Bible School used to sing a little verse about someone who wanted to see Jesus: "Zacchaeus was a wee little man, and a wee little man was he. He climbed up in the Sycamore tree for the Lord he wanted to see." If you want to see Jesus, read the Bible. From Genesis through Revelation, the real story of the Bible is the revelation of God’s redemptive love expressed through His only begotten Son. We have focused our attention on Jesus in Revelation for some time. I have finished the series of messages from Revelation - except for this one and one more. I do plan to incorporate songs of heaven and the return of Christ in another message, but today I would like to ask you "to turn your eyes upon Jesus" as He would have you see Him in Revelation.

I have preached more sermons from a Holman Bible in the King James Version than any other Bible ever. I told Ken Stephens, LifeWay Christian Resources Vice President over Broadman and Holman about this Bible, which was published by the A. J. Holman Company of Philadelphia some time before LifeWay bought Holman, the oldest Bible publishing company in America. It has been a great honor to serve on the Broadman and Holman Committee as a member of the board of trustees for LifeWay as the HCSB was released, continues to be released in various formats.

I turned to the first chapter of Revelation in my old Holman Bible and found these words: THE REVELATION of St. John the Divine. Then I opened my HCSB to the same place and read the words: THE REVELATION of Jesus Christ. Thank you, Dr. Ed Bloom and team for taking the title directly from the text itself. This is the Revelation of Jesus Christ and it is a revelation by Jesus Christ. Now, what is it that Jesus reveals about Himself? You are going to find this exciting!

Before we do that, however, I would like to share a note about this series of messages that I find very timely, especially when ungodly masses are crusading to turn this into a secular nation, when they are vehemently attacking Christmas, the Pledge of Allegiance, and Christmas symbols. I received this from a man to whom you and I owe a huge debt of gratitude. He served our nation faithfully, courageously, and with integrity. He is retired three star General Dutch Shoffner, who also served as a Vice President for Lockheed Martin after retiring from the Army. Maybe you have heard someone say, "When you go out side and take a breath of free air, don’t thank a teacher or a preacher, thank a soldier!" I am sure Dutch would say give the credit to the Lord. Dutch, by the way, has been doing the "editorial" work for both THE SERMON NOTEBOOK and THE BIBLE NOTEBOOK for me. He sent the following note after reading an earlier sermon:

"As you continue your work on Revelation, the following quote seems most appropriate. As I recall, your opening gambit on the nature of the title makes the same point . . . it is the Revelation of Jesus Christ. It would make an interesting footnote to support your point that at least 200 years ago, others had the same notion.

"The law of nature and the law of revelation are both Divine: they flow, though in different channels, from the same adorable source. It is indeed preposterous to separate them from each other." -- James Wilson (of the Law of Nature, 1804)

Reference: The Works of the Honourable James Wilson, Wilson, ed., vol. 1 (120)


A. There Were Those Who Were Sincerely Seeking Him.

1) There was Zacchaeus (That wee little man who "climbed up in the sycamore tree for the Lord he wanted to see"):

"He entered Jericho and was passing through. There was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but he was not able because of the crowd, since he was a short man. So running ahead, he climbed up a sycamore tree to see Jesus, since He was about to pass that way. When Jesus came to the place, He looked up and said to him, "Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, because today I must stay at your house" (Luke 19:1-5).

2) Many came for various reasons to see Jesus. You are familiar with the role of Andrew, Simon’s brother, in bringing people to Jesus. I am thankful that there are still people today who are saying, "We would see Jesus." In every generation there are those who need to seek Jesus, and there are disciples who, like Andrew, are ready to usher them into the presence of the Lord.

I had only been on campus at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary a few days as I recall when President Leo Eddleman introduced our chapel speaker, Dr. J. D. Grey, pastor of First Baptist Church of New Orleans. I had heard him in Meridian, MS when I participated in the state Bible Drill competition. I may not have remembered him if it had not been for comments my father had made about the message and the speaker.

The chapel on campus at NOBTS was new that year and Dr. Grey called it Pope Leo’s Cathedral (a play on Dr. Eddleman’s given name and the Catholic climate in which the seminary was located. I visited a number of churches in the area, but when Becky and I got married and were looking for a church, we joined First Baptist and J. D. Grey, Saint J. D. To many people, became our pastor.

Years later, after he had retired, Dr. Grey was asked to preach in revival services at a small rural church in northeast Louisiana and many were surprised that he had accepted the invitation. Someone asked the young inexperienced pastor how he got J. D. Grey to come to that church. He said, "I asked him."

We rescheduled our associational pastors’ conference so we could hear J. D. Grey during that revival at Sondheimer. Dr. Grey told us that he had made arrangements with someone at Angola to have miniature license plates made with the words WE WOULD SEE JESUS printed on them. Every time he went to a new church he took one of those little license plates, with an adhesive back and stuck it on the pulpit where the pastor would see it every time he looked down. This would be a constant reminder to the pastor that the people did not need to be impressed with his pulpit presence, his sense of humor, or his wit. The people needed, and many desired to see Jesus.

B. Many Sought Him for Their Own Personal Motives.

Herod expressed an interest in seeing Jesus, but we know that he had no desire to know Him as Savior or Lord. "Herod was very glad to see Jesus; for a long time he had wanted to see Him, because he had heard about Him and was hoping to see some miracle performed by Him" (Luke 23:8).

Many people came to Jesus seeking physical healing, and believe me, if we had suffered from some painful physical problem, blindness, leprosy, or if we had a daughter who was dying, we would have been seeking Jesus, especially after hearing reports that He was healing people known to have serious health problems, and even freeing people of demons.

Great crowds followed Jesus early in his earthly ministry. He was often so pressed by the crowds that He had to withdraw to be alone with the Father. On one occasion, a large crowd, made up of 5,000 men plus women and children, or possibly 20,000 people, followed him to the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, where He fed them with a little boy’s lunch. The next day they followed him back to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, seeking more bread. Jesus declared, "I am the Bread of Life." They would have followed Him as long as he supplied physical bread but when he declared Himself to be the Bread they needed, they turned and followed Him no more.

When I was a younger teenager Oral Roberts came to Memphis and before long everyone within a hundred mile radius of Memphis knew about all the people he was reportedly healing. Most of the people from my community went to Memphis when we heard that "Virginia" was going to be healed. Virginia was commonly known in that day as a deaf-mute. People today are a little more sensitive, but that would not have changed her condition. If she knew sign language we did not see her signing. She was just there. She was probably in her thirties and her family was placing their faith in Oral Roberts as a last resort. I was there and saw Virginia go through the line. Oral Roberts read the card each person carried and announced their disease or ailment before pronouncing them HEALED! Virginia was not healed immediately, but her family kept hoping she would give them some indication that she was being healed. Finally, they wrote to Oral Roberts and received a letter from someone one who worked for him suggesting that she probably got out of place in line!

There was no question that Jesus healed people. This attracted people from all over the country. They kept coming to see Jesus. Let me stress that all those who sought Him found Him, and they found Him to be all they expected, and much more. To those who needed water, He is the Water of Life; To those who need bread, He is the bread of life; to those who are lost, He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. To those who need protection, He is the Good Shepherd. If you seek Him you will find Him, and you will find that He is far more than you ever imagined.


A. He introduces Himself in the first Chapter.

"Grace and peace to you from the One who is, who was, and who is coming; from the seven spirits before His throne; and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead and the ruler of the kings of the earth" (Rev 1:4-5).

1) Jesus is the Second Person of the Trinity. No, the Bible does not mention the word Trinity, but I would like to see you dismiss every word not mentioned in the Bible. There is no mention of computers, Pods, Televisions, DVDs, Jets, or Hummers, but we know they exist. There are two basic theories concerning the God-Head: the Trinitary view and the Unitary view. Those who hold the Trinitary position believe God is one in essence, three in Person: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Sadly, there are Christian leaders who agree with the Muslims that the doctrine of the Trinity is a polytheistic view of God. Around 1970, a former seminary president told me that one of the most popular pastors, authors, and conference speakers in the Southern Baptist Convention was attending a Southern Baptist Convention one year when he was invited to visit with a professor of theology in his hotel room, and as my friend said, The well known denominational leader and popular writer "went into that room with a Trinitary view of God and came our with a Unitary view. Most of his doctrinal writing was behind him, and for that reason many in his denomination did not know that he had changed his position. That seminary professor, by the way, was reported to have said that the virgin birth didn’t matter. Believe me, if The Bible claims a virgin birth it is matters.

Those who hold the Unitary theory God may illustrate their position by saying that In the Old Testament God is playing the role of the Father; in the New Testament He is playing the role of the Son and from Pentecost onward He is playing the role of the Holy Spirit. They might continue: I am the son of my father, the husband of my wife, and the father of my child - one person fulfilling three different roles. Unfortunately, their fear of being accused of being polytheistic has led to them to err. When Jesus withdrew do be alone with the Father, if there was no one else there, He is guilty of perpetrating a fraud. When He said that only the Father knew the time and the hour of His return, if there is no Father there, Jesus is lying to us. We do not worship three gods, we worship the Three-in-one God; one in essence, three in Person. Another point that Francis Shaeffer made here is that in the Trinity there is perfect fellowship, so God did not have to create angels or man in order to have a relationship. There has been an eternal relationship within the Godhead.

2) Jesus is the Faithful Witness. Jesus reveals the Father, just as the Holy Spirit reveals that Jesus is the Son of God. There are many witnesses to the Father, but there is one faithful, infallible witness, and that is Jesus. If you would know the Father, you must go to Him through the Son.

3) Jesus is the firstborn from the dead. The crowning miracle of the New Testament is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Here Jesus is called the "first born from the dead." He was not the first person to have been raised from the dead, so why is he called "the first born from the dead?" Lazarus, the widow’s son at Nain and the centurion’s daughter were raised by Jesus. Who raised Jesus from the dead? Jesus is the Author of His own resurrection. He is the first one to raise Himself of His own power. No one else has ever done that.

4) Jesus is the ruler of the kings of the earth. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. He will put all kings and all nations under His foot. They will be totally subjected.

B. Jesus Is the Alpha and the Omega.

"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "the One who is, who was, and who is coming, the Almighty" (Rev 1:8).

1) Jesus is one with the Great I AM. No, this verse does not proclaim that, but the Holy Spirit inspired this same John to write that in the first chapter of the Gospel According to John. He and the Father are one. The three primary names for God the Father in the Old Testament are Elohim, the God of power (to create all things); Adonai, the sovereign God (who has a right to reign over all He created; and Yahweh, the great I AM (the covenant name for God). They knew Him as Elohim or Adonai, but at the burning bush God gave Moses his Covenant name, I AM (that which I am, I was that which I was, and I will be that which I will be. He is the Uncaused Cause of all things. He is the source of your being. Not only is He the One who is, and "the One who was, but He is also the One who is coming. Jesus is coming again!"

2) Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. In the beginning He was there as Creator; at Calvary, He was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world; in the end, He will be there as King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the beginning and the end - and all things in between. Dr. R. G. Lee often amazed those who heard him with lists, with his vocabulary, the voice, appearance, and his word pictures. I know he amazed me one evening at a Mississippi College ministerial banquet when he challenged us to memorize the New Testament! I never took him seriously until I learned that he knew the New Testament by heart. I often heard Dr. Lee run through his alphabet of praise for Jesus:

He is Adam, Advocate, Anointed, Apostle, Author, Amen, Alpha, Ancient of Days/

He is the Beginning...the Beloved, Branch, Bread, Bridegroom, Bright and Morning Star...

He is the...Captain, Consolation, Chief Cornerstone, Counselor, Covenant, Chosen of God, Christ,

He is the Daysman, Deliverer, Dayspring, Daystar, Door, Desire of all nations.

He is the Elect, Ensign, Everlasting Father, Emmanuel.

He is the finisher of our faith, Forerunner, Friend, First Fruits, Faithful Witness.

He is God, the Gift of God, Governor, Guide, Glorious Lord.

He is Help, Hope...Horn of Salvation, Head of the Church....High Priest... the Holy One.

He is I Am, Inheritance of God, Image of God’s Person, Immortal, Invisible.

He is Judah, Judge, the Just, Jesus.

He is King - King of Israel, King of kings, King of glory, King everlasting.

He is Life, Light, Love, Lily, Lion, Lamb, Lawgiver, Living Stone, the Lord of Glory

He is Messenger, Mediator, Master, Messiah, Mighty God, Mercy’s paradox.

He is a Nazarene.

He is the Offspring of David, Omega, Only Begotten of God, Offering, Offerer.

He is Priest, Passover, Potentate, Prophet, Propitiation, Prince of life, Prince of Peace, Physician.

He is Righteous, Rabbi...Rest...Root of David... Refuge, Resurrection...Redeemer...Rock of Ages.

He is the Stone, Shepherd, Son of God, Son of Man...Servant...Savior, Sacrifice.

He is Teacher, Truth, Tabernacle...Treasurer, Tree of life.

He is Witness, Word, the Way, The Wisdom of God...Wonderful.

"In all things through all ages, He is the lovely and mighty Christ, beyond all comprehension of finite mind. He is ‘the sweetest name on mortal tongue, sweetest carol ever sung."

[R. G. Lee, The Name Above Every Name, Fleming Revell, New York, 1938, pp. 10-11]

3) Jesus is the Almighty. No doubt when you hear the title the Almighty, you think of God the Father, but here Jesus identifies Himself by the same title. He had emptied Himself of many things in order to take on a human body. He has no such limitations today. He is the Almighty.

C. Jesus Identifies Himself to John as the Living One.

"When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. He laid His right hand on me, and said, "Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last, 18 and the Living One. I was dead, but look—I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and Hades" (Rev 1:17-18).

1) "I was dead, but look; I am alive forever and ever." Once again, there is an emphasis on the resurrection - and you thought we were supposed to save that for Easter! John’s response to Jesus is what we have come to expect. He falls at His feet. Jesus’ response to John’s behavior is also what we have come to expect. He said, "Don’t be afraid." Those who are flippant about Jesus, heaven, or supposed visions of heaven do not know the One who was dead, but is alive forever and ever.

2) "I hold the keys of death and Hades." This is not theoretical, it is practical and real. It is also very personal. It is one thing to think of Jesus as holding the keys to death and the realm of the dead in a general sense, but another all together to understand that He holds your life, your soul, your future in His hands. This is not what the world wants to hear today. So-called secularists are so determined to hinder, restrict, and even destroy Christianity that they will open their arms to those who are also the bitter enemies of their freedom. Those who keep suppressing Christmas, forcing the Ten Commandments out of the public arena, denying the role of the Bible on our constitution, rewriting the Pledge of Allegiance, and filing charges against those who would pray in any public are encouraging those who would destroy their precious freedom they claim to value so highly.

Liberals, who apparently want to be called progressives now, have been cozying up to Communists, Muslims, paganism, and other false religions for a long time in their war against Christianity. Let me ask you this: What are the conditions under which the press works in a communist or Muslim government. John Gibson, in his new book, America’s War against Christmas, has chronicled what in reality is a war against Christ. Can you not imagine how the devil and his demons laugh at how ease many sophisticated intellectuals are? At one point in Revelation we see the devil deceive people and then destroy those he has deceived. You don’t have to wait until the Tribulation for that. Satan uses Hollywood, TV, billboards, magazines, and movies to tell people that they must drink wine if they want to be sophisticated, beer if they want to be cool, and whiskey if they want to show that they are rally mature (a real man!). Listen to him and you open the door to one of the greatest dangers in America. Alcohol is still the most dangerous drug in America and it is associated with everything from murder, to divorce, to bankruptcy, to violence in the home, to crime, and all the diseases associated with alcohol abuse. I would have to go back a couple of generations in my family, but I do remember the mental and emotional scars alcohol left on people I loved. Some who joked about their liquor became slaves of liquor. Not only did they become slaves to it, they imposed the penalties on their families. 

D. Jesus is the Son of Man.

"I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me. When I turned I saw seven gold lampstands, and among the lampstands was One like the Son of Man. His head and hair were white like wool—white as snow, His eyes like a fiery flame, His feet like fine bronze fired in a furnace, and His voice like the sound of cascading waters. In His right hand He had seven stars; from His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was shining like the sun at midday (Rev 1:12-16).

The Son of Man is a NT designation for Jesus as God incarnate, God in the flesh, the agent of divine judgment. This title appears 84 times in the Gospels. In the Old Testament, this title is used of man, except in Ezekiel and Daniel, where t he reference is to the Lord’s Messiah. In Matthew and Mark, Jesus uses it for Himself. When Jesus was on earth He was as much human as if He had not been God at all, and He was as much God as if He had never been man at all. Matthew records Jesus as saying, "This is why you also must be ready, because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect" (Matt 24:44).

In these verses Jesus reveals Himself as "One like the Son of Man. His head and hair were white like wool" (a testimony to His righteousness). "His eyes like a fiery flame" is a testimony to his omniscience. Today, we might say He has like laser beams, penetrating the heart of each person. "His feet like fine bronze fired in a furnace" speaks of his power to accomplish His purpose. "His voice like the sound of cascading waters" may testify to the majesty, beauty, and authority of His word.

When we read, "In His right hand He had seven stars," we may recall that He holds the pastors in His hand. Every pastor must have a deep conviction that Jesus has His hand on him. "From His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword" speaks of the power, truth, and majesty of His Word. "His face was shining like the sun and midday" declares His eternal glory.

E. Jesus is the Son of God.

Jesus is often identified as the Son of God. He said, "To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: "The Son of God, the One whose eyes are like a fiery flame, and whose feet are like fine bronze" (Rev 2:18). The most familiar verse identifying Jesus as the Son of God is John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

F. Now Look at a Number of Other References to Jesus in Revelation

1) "The Holy One, the True One, the One who has the key of David, who opens and no one will close, and closes and no one opens" (Rev 3:7). Jesus is not only holy; He is "the Holy One." He is not only the Way, the Truth, and the Life, He is "the True One" (which sets Him apart from all others). That He has "the key of David" mirrors that wonderfully woven genealogy we find in the first chapter of Matthew, where the Scripture shows that he meets all qualifications as the Messiah because He is descended from Abraham (according to the Covenant) and David, according to the royal line.

2) Jesus is "The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Originator of God’s creation" (Rev 3:14).

3) Jesus is the Lamb of God. He is worthy to open the scroll in Chapter 5. In this passage, Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Judah marched under the emblem of the Lion in the Wilderness). He is the Root of David, according to the royal line. He is the Lamb (slain from the foundation of the world).

"Then one of the elders said to me, "Stop crying. Look! The Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has been victorious so that He may open the scroll and its seven seals." Then I saw one like a slaughtered lamb standing between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent into all the earth. He came and took [the scroll] out of the right hand of the One seated on the throne. When He took the scroll, the four living creatures and the 24 elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song: You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals; because You were slaughtered, and You redeemed people for God by Your blood from every tribe and language and people and nation" (Rev 5:5-9).

The Lamb of God was worthy to open the seals and read the scroll because he had been slaughtered and He had provided for our redemption.

4) The Son of God Will Harvest the earth.

"Then I looked, and there was a white cloud, and One like the Son of Man was seated on the cloud, with a gold crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand. Another angel came out of the sanctuary, crying out in a loud voice to the One who was seated on the cloud, "Use your sickle and reap, for the time to reap has come, since the harvest of the earth is ripe." So the One seated on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth, and the earth was harvested" (Rev 14:14-16).

5) Jesus is coming quickly. “Look, I am coming quickly! Blessed is the one who keeps the prophetic words of this book (Rev 22:7). At some point, Jesus appears in the air and all believers will be caught up to meet Him in the air. That will launch a period of Tribulation such as the world has never known, and it will only cease when Jesus comes to wage war against all enemies. He will reign with the saints, and ultimately we will be permitted to occupy that place He prepares for every believer. When that time comes, He will come quickly!


Jesus has revealed Himself throughout Revelation. He has revealed Himself as the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. He is the Son of Man, the Son of God, the Lamb of God, the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright Morning Star. We could go on and on with these word pictures that reveals Jesus as He wants to be revealed. I would like for you to see Jesus:

He is the Alpha of God’s Creation, Redemption, and Consummation.

He is Bethlehem’s Star, the Bright Morning Star.

He is the Christ, Counselor, the Coming One.

He is the Door to the sheepfold.

He is Everlasting Father

He is the Faithful Witness.

He is God’s Own Son, God’s Gift.

He is Heaven’s glory.

He is Immanuel, the "image of the invisible God."

He is Jesus, the Salvation of Jehovah.

He is King of kings.

He is Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Lord of lords, the Light of the world.

He is the Majestic, the only Mediator between God and man.

He is the Nazarene.

He is the Open door.

He is Prophet and Priest, and Passover; the Propitiation for our sins.

He is the coming quickly.

He is the only Redeemer.

He is the perfect Sacrifice.

He is the Truth, He is Triumphant.

He "upholding all things by the word of his power."

He is the Victor over death, hell, and the grave.

He is the Word, the Wonderful Counselor.

He is the excellent Exemplar; the Example.

He is your only hope

He is Zealous for your salvation.

We have seen Jesus as He wants us to see Him. Jesus says, "I, Jesus, have sent My angel to attest these things to you for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright Morning Star" (Rev 22:16). R. G. Lee said of Jesus:

Jesus - "the image of the invisible God" (Colossians 1:15), "The brightness of God’s glory," (Hebrews 1:3).

Jesus - "In whom "dwells all the fullness of the God-head bodily" (Colossians 2:9).

Jesus - who in Eternity rested on the bosom of the Father without a mother, and in Time rested on the bosom of a mother without a father (see John 1:18; Matt. 1:25).

Jesus - Son of man without sin, Son of God with power, "who though he were a son, learned obedience by the things which he suffered, becoming the author of eternal salvation" (Heb. 5:9).

(The list goes on and on but this will underscore the person and work of Jesus: R. G. Lee, A Charge to Keep, Zondervan, 1959, p. 69)

There is a lot more that can be said about Jesus, but for now, I would like to ask you a question. Why would you not want to see Jesus? Why would you not want to know Him personally? Why would you put it off? Why not now?

When I was in seminary an evangelist of the day spoke in chapel and in evangelism classes. I will never forget his story about the opportunity he had to play checkers with the world champion checker player. He played a few quick games and was slaughtered by the champion. Afterwards, he had an opportunity to witness to the world champion checker player. After sharing with him the God’s provision for salvation, he said, he looked him in the eye and said, "Now, it’s your move.

Jesus has revealed Himself through many images, titles, metaphors, and claims in the Revelation. Now it’s your move. What will you do with Jesus?

You know Him as Savior. Good. No, Great. Now, in light of all Jesus reveals about Himself, let me ask you, is your Savior your Lord? Does He reign as supreme in your heart and life? We are going to give you an opportunity pause long enough for Jesus to speak to you right now, to reveal any commitment you need to make to Him. Are you willing to do that? Today? Right now? It’s your move!