In addressing his Revelation to the churches in Asia Minor, John goes beyond a simple greeting and moves directly into doxology and praise. The Book of Revelation tells of the majesty and glory of Jesus, and as John begins recording it, he cannot keep from getting carried along in the wonderful truths that surround the person of Jesus Christ.
John first explains that Jesus is a faithful witness. There is no questioning the authenticity of the message of Christ. He came as God in the flesh to represent God to humanity. There is no purer or clearer representation of God than Jesus. Jesus made this point clear when he told his disciples in John 14:9, “He who has seen me, has seen the Father.” There was no better representation of the grace and mercy of God than the selfless sacrifice of Jesus, and there is no greater demonstration of the wrath and justice of God than the selfless sacrifice of Jesus. God is most clearly revealed through the faithful witness and testimony of Jesus.
John further describes Jesus as the first begotten or firstborn of the dead. This has less to do with the order of resurrection than it does with the importance of resurrection. There were several who resurrected before Jesus (even some that Jesus raised to life himself), but the resurrection of Jesus stands as the most important of all resurrections. In it, we find the validation of His message. In it, we find power against temptation, comfort in suffering, assurance in doubt, and an unshakeable hope in the future. No other resurrection accomplished that, only the resurrection of Jesus.
According to Romans 14:9, Jesus rose from the grave so that He could be Lord both of the living and the dead. Here in verse 5, John calls him the prince of the kings of the earth. Every ruler is under the reign of Jesus and has received delegated authority from the true sovereign One, Jesus. He is the one who rules and reigns and will ultimately claim His victory over all of the kingdoms of the earth.
Among the many glorious truths that John includes in this doxology however, we find truths that are especially comforting. In Jesus we find a death-defeating, God-revealing Sovereign, but we also find a loving and selfless Savior who died for us. In Christ’s exaltation, He does not leave us or forget us. Rather, in love, He has saved us and has called us to join in worship as kings and priests.
He truly is praiseworthy. Those who followed Him at His first coming and follow Him now in His absence will find their reward at His return. But those who defied Him at His first coming and scorn His loving call now, will “wail because of Him.” He is the great Sovereign Savior and we would do well to worship Him as such.
Reflect: In what ways is John’s doxology truly a revelation of Jesus Christ?