And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand on me, saying to me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
I. THE DESIGNATION WHICH OUR LORD ASSUMED. "I am the first and the last." Say that these words speak of Jesus Christ as my Lord and my God, and yet as my Friend that sticketh closer than a brother; say that they teach the human and the Divine nature in the one person of our Lord Jesus Christ, and then I can understand how they would comfort the heart of the tremulous apostle.
II. THE TRANSITION THROUGH WHICH OUR LORD PASSED. John would be no stranger to Him by and by. Was that eye, like a flame of fire, to tell of corruption? Do those feet, burning as with fine brass, tell of corruption? Does that Voice, like the sound of many waters, tell of corruption? Nay; He had been dead, but now was alive again, and the promises He hath given were assured by His resurrection. No matter what there should be on the part of John in regard to Hades or to death, no matter what he might dread, let him renounce his dread, let him stand on his feet, let him look his Saviour in the face and recognise the old smile as well as that voice, and lay down upon His breast as he was wont to do before our Lord was a sufferer on the Cross. Death had no more dominion over Him now. "He was alive for evermore." Come what might, there would be no other sacrifice for sin; no other sacrifice wanted. "I am alive for evermore"; and the liabilities of His humanity were exhausted; all the sacrificial responsibilities of His mediatorship were exhausted, there was not a fragment of those responsibilities left. It was finished. He had made an end of sin; He had abolished death, and swallowed it up in victory; He had become the resurrection and the life in perpetuity, throughout all the ages world without end.
III. THE SOVEREIGNTY WHICH HE CLAIMED. All harmonised; all was coherent in the three several great departments of this text. Look at the supremacy of the sovereignty He assumed, and take care to use that connecting particle there, "and I have the keys of hell and of death." Now, the relations of Hades to you and to me are momentous in the extreme. But press questions as we may, to a very great extent they can obtain no satisfactory reply. I may, however, tell you one thing about Hades, and that is it is very effectually controlled. Supposing all the principalities and powers amidst the evil spirits of Hades were to come in all their force and in all their malignity against the Church of Christ which He had purchased with His own blood, what then? It was a foregone conclusion; and the principalities and powers in perdition would just ingloriously succumb. They might boast, as the poet says, "Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven," but they are in servitude after all their vaunting, and He whom they serve is no other than He whom they crucified.
(W. Brock, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: