Today, I’m cheating by skipping ahead a few chapters in Revelation. I’m not sorry.
Get a load of this:
11 Then I saw the heavens opened, and there was a white horse; its rider was [called] “Faithful and True.” He judges and wages war in righteousness. 12 His eyes were [like] a fiery flame, and on his head were many diadems. He had a name inscribed that no one knows except himself. 13 He wore a cloak that had been dipped in blood, and his name was called the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven followed him, mounted on white horses and wearing clean white linen. 15 Out of his mouth came a sharp sword to strike the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod, and he himself will tread out in the wine press the wine of the fury and wrath of God the almighty. 16 He has a name written on his cloak and on his thigh, “King of kings and Lord of lords.”
How does that compare with your image of Jesus? Maybe it’s better stated: How does that compare with your baseline image of Jesus? When you pray to Jesus, or proclaim his Gospel, are you thinking of a Jesus with fiery eyes, many crowns, a bloody cloak, and “King of kings and Lord of lords” tattooed on his thigh?
How do our different images of Jesus color the way we see the Christian life? When we emphasize suffering Jesus, are we more likely to expect or see suffering? When we think of Jesus’ gentleness with children and the downtrodden, I would bet we’re more inclined to think the Christian life is about service and self-gift. Does hearing about Jesus’ miracles make us more likely to pray for one in our own lives?
All of these senses logically follow from the subject matter. There are so many facets to Jesus (he is, well Son of the Creator) and consequently to our spiritual lives, since we are called to be imitators of Christ.
But how often do we reflect on that King of kings dimension of Jesus Christ?
I know that my prayer, confidence in evangelization, and desire to be bold all grow when I reflect on the above passage. Today’s readings (see, I still talked about them!) are all proclamations of God’s victory and faithfulness, and they provided just the right jolt of inspiration and hope for me during my early college years, where self-image and doubt were immense struggles. Jesus, in His powerful, victorious glory, became somebody I could aspire to be like and be happy to serve, and be proud of myself.
Does your faith make you proud of yourself? Does it give you self-confidence? It sounds silly to say, but I’ll say it anyway because it sometimes gets easy to believe this: Christ-like humility and a strong sense of self-worth are not mutually exclusive! In fact, a healthy self-image is crucial to a fully integrated life of faith! Where our imperfections and failures once may have crippled us, our worth comes from God and cannot be shaken.
We are called to be heirs to this glorious Kingdom and serve the all-powerful God who rules in victory over Satan and evil. That’s it. That’s the end of the story. Jesus Christ, the victory, riding in on a white stallion and laying waste to all that is not of God. I’m guessing that’s not your usual “prayer material”.
Take some time to reflect on Jesus Christ in His glorious victory today. I pray you let it mold how you view yourself and how you go about living out your faith.