Who is Jesus? How will we react to Jesus? These questions drive the Book of Revelation. The book, a blend of apocalyptic, prophetic, and letter writing, purposes to encourage the church to remain faithful in the midst of ever-growing persecution. Gerald Stevens asserts, “I have told my students that if they get the first chapter of Revelation correctly, the have mastered the rest of the book… Its central context is the church. Its central figure is the Son of Man.” Revelation 1:5-6, 10-11 reads,

“…from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen… I [John] was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, saying, ‘Write what you see in a book and send to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”


The title “firstborn” means the highest in rank, the utmost, or superior! Nowadays, we use the term mostly to refer to firstborn children. In biblical times the rights and responsibilities of the firstborn were great. However, when John uses the term “firstborn of the dead” in Revelation, this special title points us to Jesus’ resurrection power! Jesus wasn’t the first person to rise from the dead. In 1 Kings 17:17-24, Elijah prays for God to raise a widow’s son from the dead and the Lord answers. Furthermore, Jesus displayed numerous resurrection miracles during his earthly life and ministry including raising his friend Lazarus from the grave (John 11:1-44). Jesus’ firstborn status is meant to remind us that he conquered the grave and now offers us new life by following him (John 3:16). In Colossians 1:15-16, the apostle Paul reminds us,

“He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him.”


Creators wield power over their creation. As creator he left the riches of heaven to come to earth, fully God and fully man, to meet us where we are (Eph. 4:9). He is a personal God. Jesus Christ makes God visible to us. Paul employs the same Greek word for “firstborn” used by John in Revelation. Here the term again drives home the point that Christ is preeminent in his creation. “Jesus is not only the agent of creation but is also the goal of creation,” reminds Clinton Arnold. This Creator deserve our praise and perseverance. Colossians 1:17-18 continues,

“And he [Jesus] is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.”


Praise God we do not serve an inactive God! Our Creator does not sit away in heaven disinterested in his creation. His people are on his mind (Jer. 29:11). In fact, the word “synistemi,” translated “hold together,” means both to “establish” and to “stand near.” Jesus is the head of the church. He guides us. He leads us. He keeps us. He told his disciples it was better he left (death, burial, resurrection, and ascension) so the Helper, the Holy Spirit, would come (John 16:7; Acts 2). God’s very presence ministers to us and helps us in our time of need (Rom. 8:26-28). Colossians 1:19-23 concludes,

“For in him [Jesus] all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.”


Sin infected and affected the world we live in (Gen. 3). Sickness, disaster, and injustice were not realities in the Garden of Eden. Sin had cosmic ramifications. It broke our relationship with God and with others. This year is a firsthand reminder of the brokenness of our world, but there is hope! Revelation reminds us that hope is active and our future is promised (Rev. 21-22). Restoration is here. His name is Jesus. Will you follow him today? Isaiah 53:5 reminds us of the price he paid to reconcile us to him once and for all,

“But he was pierced for our transgression; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”

#RestorationIsHere #JESUSis

  • Written by: Dean Ross (9/22/20)
  • This blog is part 2 of 7 based on the “Jesus Is…” series by Family Church NOLA. For more resources visit: http://www.JoinTheFamily.Church
  • Gerald Stevens quote taken from his book “Revelation: The Past and Future of John’s Apocalypse” (Pickwick Publications, 2014, pg. 249)
  • Clinton Arnold quote taken from his study note contributions in the ESV Study Bible (Crossway, 2011, pg. 2294)
  • All scriptures quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (Crossway)