I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. (Revelation 19:11)
America has had its share of famous generals. Many of them are best known by their nicknames. Do you know the real names of these American generals: Old Blood and Guts, Stonewall, The Bear, Ike?
Here’s the name of another famous general: Faithful and True. Do you know his real name? It is Jesus Christ. Though we might not often picture Jesus Christ as a general, this is how he pictures himself in Revelation 19. The apostle John wrote, “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. . . . The armies of heaven were following him. . . . Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations.”
John pictures the Last Day when “Faithful and True” will come again “to judge the living and the dead.” What does General Jesus want us to know about him as we live in anticipation of his return? Jesus want us to know this: he is faithful and true to his Word, the “sharp sword” coming “out of his mouth.”
That should terrify us. For we have not always been faithful and true parents. Or faithful and true spouses. Or faithful and true friends and neighbors. Or faithful and true students. Or faithful and true employees. But Jesus is, and always has been, faithful and true to his Word. And Jesus did say, “If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, . . . the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day” (John 12). General Jesus was not kidding either. Revelation 19 ends with the sentence, “The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.” Jesus’ name—Faithful and True—rightly terrifies unfaithful sinners.
But this same name of Jesus—Faithful and True—is also our greatest comfort as believers. For “if we are faithless, [Jesus] will remain faithful” (2 Timothy 3). True to his Word and faithful to his Father, Jesus took the place of unfaithful sinners under the law and lived perfectly as our substitute. He went to the cross and paid in full the debt we owed God because of our unfaithfulness. True to his Word and faithful to his Father, Jesus says, “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” And so we pray during this Advent season, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus.”
Thank you, Jesus, for being perfectly faithful to the truth of your Word and saving me from the guilt of my sin. Help me be faithful and true to you and your Word until you come again to take me home to heaven. Amen.
Rev. James Danell serves Martin Luther College as a professor of German.
Next Worship Opportunity
“I Will Give You Rest”
Wednesday: 3:45 pm and 6:30 pm
Pastor Mike Schultz, Preacher