I’ve been thinking of two seemingly different pictures of Jesus in the scriptures. First is Jesus in the Gospels walking on earth, talking to the disciples, teaching people, healing people, calling them his friend.
Second is the raised and exalted Jesus who we see in the book of Revelation with “eyes of flashing fire, feet like burnished bronze.”
At first glance these two pictures of Jesus are so different that we wonder how to connect them!
It’s easy to think of Jesus walking on earth as a warm, friendly, easy going buddy, but there is more than just a sentimental feeling of closeness in Jesus’ idea of friendship. One of the keys to connecting the two pictures of Jesus is what He says about friendship in John 15:14 “You are my friends if you do what I command you.”
In Revelation in John’s vision of Jesus he “fell at His feet as a dead man.” But then Jesus “laid His right hand upon me, saying, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One”.
So these pictures of Jesus are both true at the same time : Jesus is my friend but not my easygoing buddy AND Jesus is exalted and glorified and almost terrifying ; yet at the same time he puts his hand on me and urges me to follow his commands.
Jesus’ shining brightness in John’s vision makes me think of how the Lord has a refiner’s fire—wanting to burn off and purify any slop and sin in my life that would be an obstacle to doing what He commands.
The same Jesus who is my friend is the exalted Jesus who wants to purify me.
So the two views of Jesus are not contradictory at all! The Jesus who walked the earth in the gospels is the same as the Jesus who rules in heavenly places in Revelation, and He intensely desires that we each respond to his touch and follow him well!