NASHVILLE (BP) — This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from The Gospel Project curriculum.
Bible Passage: Revelation 1:9-20
— How might Jesus’ power over time give you comfort and hope today?
— How does Jesus’ power over death shape the way you view death and talk about it with others?
— Why is it important to talk about hell even if it is an uncomfortable and unpopular subject?
Food for Thought:
Read Revelation 1:17-18. John fell down at Jesus’ feet because he encountered Jesus’ glory. Just like Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 34) and Isaiah when he was ushered to God’s throne (Isaiah 6), John is utterly undone in the presence of God’s glory. In light of this, let’s look at three key points about Jesus’ power.
Jesus has power over time. When Jesus says He is “the First and the Last,” He declares He is the Ruler over time. Jesus is “the First” because He has existed eternally, before time even began. Jesus created time as part of His creation (John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:15-17). Jesus is “the Last” because He will always exist, long after the end comes and time is no more. Because He has power over time, Jesus is not bound by history but rather stands over it.
Jesus has power over death. Death is inevitable, but it’s not natural. It’s the most unnatural thing in the universe. But one day death will not be inevitable. It will be defeated once and for all and thrown not into a hole in the ground, but into a lake of fire with its father, Satan. Through Christ, we will be in the new heavens and new earth with the tree of life, feasting on its life-giving fruit forever (Revelation 19 — 22).
Jesus, the glorious Son of God, has been resurrected from the dead and will destroy death forever. This is why Jesus’ victory over death is a message of hope we should share at our dinner tables, with our next-door neighbors and with the nations.
Jesus has power over hell. Hell is real, and forever is a long time. However, rather than “repent or go to hell,” we should follow John the Baptist’s model: “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!” (Matthew 3:2). The kingdom of heaven, the sphere in which God rules, was brought near to us in the incarnation of Jesus. We don’t believe in Jesus just to avoid hell; we believe in Jesus to be joined to Him and all that comes with Him.
The Gospel Project
The Gospel Project is a chronological, Christ-centered study for kids, students and adults. The Bible is not a collection of stories. It is one story of God’s plan to rescue His people from sin and death. It is the story of redemption, the gospel message of Jesus Christ. More information can be found at LifeWay.com/gospelproject .