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 PROSTRATION OF THE APOSTLE: "I fell at His feet as dead."
1. This was the prostration of guilt and unworthiness, arising from the presence of a sin-abhorring God. If anything can humble a sinful creature, it is to stand in the presence of infinite purity, greatness, and majesty.
2. This was the prostration of weakness and mortality.
3. This was the prostration of terror and alarm.
4. This was the prostration of holy worship.
5. This was the prostration of satisfied delight.
6. Here we may see the overwhelming power of the majesty of God.
7. Here we may see the boundless love and compassion of Jesus.He deals with His people in infinite kindness. As their days are, their strength shall be.
II. THE GRACIOUS ACT OF OUR BLESSED LORD: "He laid His right hand upon me."
1. This was a human hand; so it seemed to be. One like the similitude of the sons of men touched the prophet's lips, and one who was the Son of Man laid His right hand on John.
2. This was not an angel's hand, but the right hand of Jesus. Amidst the splendours of the vision, John might forget that the Son of Man was the actor on the scene.
3. This was the act of the Shepherd of Israel, who gathers the lambs with His arm, carries them in His bosom.
4. This was the act of our great High Priest, who is possessed of infinite tenderness, who is touched with the feeling of all our infirmities.
5. This touch was marvellous. The angel of the Lord did wondrously, and Manoah and his wife looked on; everything here was astonishing and wonderful.
6. This touch was mysterious: He looks to the earth, and it trembles; He touches the mountains, and they smoke.
7. This touch was omnipotent: it was the saving strength of His right hand (Psalm 77:10-15).
8. There was majesty in the touch; it was the touch of that hand which He lifts up to heaven and says, I live for ever.
9. There was mercy in the touch. The eye that pities, and the arm that brings salvation, meet together here in marvellous conjunction.
10. There was comfort in the touch (Psalm 16:11).
11. There was Divine blessedness conveyed by the touch.
12. There was infinite love in this mysterious act. It was not a heavy blow, but a kind and gentle touch.
III. THE COMFORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT PRESENTED TO JOHN: "Saying unto me, Fear not." Fear not the wrath of God, for He is your Father. Fear not the law of God, for it has been magnified, honoured, and exalted. Fear not the curse of God, for it has been inflicted, exhausted, and removed. Fear not death, the dark king of terrors, for by My death he has been vanquished, and swallowed up in victory.
IV. THE GROUNDS OF HOLY COMFORT.
1. His essential Deity: "He is the first and the last, and the Living One." The essential Deity of the God of Israel is often assigned as a ground of comfort to the ancient Church (Genesis 15:1; Isaiah 41:10, 14; Isaiah 43:1, 2). The Deity of Christ affords the same ground of comfort to His people still. From His power, under the feeling of frailty and infirmity; from His eternity, under the fear of approaching dissolution (Psalm 90:1, 2); from His covenant mercy, under the conviction of sin and unworthiness (Psalm 103:13-18); from His covenant faithfulness, under the fear that the Lord will cast us off.
2. His person: "I am He that liveth and was dead."
3. His office: "I am He that liveth and was dead." This office consisteth of three great parts — the office of a Prophet, of a Priest, and of a King.
4. His redeeming work.
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: