Jesus is gentle. He is. He is also uncompromising, fierce, mighty, furious at God’s enemies, and the bringer of God’s wrath. The open heaven John sees in vv.11-21 is the unveiling of Jesus, and here He is far more Lion than Lamb.
Every detail of the vision contributes to this picture of Jesus in His avenging wrath. He rides a general’s war-horse, and He fights with God’s justice (v.11). He brings all of God’s authority, and is the full expression of God’s will as His Word (v.13). If His robes have been stained in the blood of His own sacrifice, they will soon be stained with the blood of His enemies (v.13). Heaven’s armies follow Him, ready to do His will (v.14). As the Gospel is proclaimed, the world not only hears of His Lordship, but encounters His Lordship, either as believers in the Gospel, or as deniers of the Gospel, and so, objects of His wrath. As John quotes Psalm 2, he knows that the world can refuse Jesus Christ, but the word can never evade His rule, or His wrath (vv.15-16).
And what a tattoo! The very ink on His thigh proclaims Jesus’ majesty (v.16). Earth must acknowledge it, and even the birds are called to recognise it, as they are invited to feast on the dead bodies of Jesus’ enemies (vv.17-18). When He rides to battle, the armies will be amassing against Him, but they will fall. All the religions, ideologies, isms and world-views and lifestyles which oppose Him will yield to Him (vv.19-21). Our call is to yield now in faith and obedience. One day, the time for that will be too late.
A Prayer to Pray
Lord Jesus, Word of God and Lord of all, You are the joy of all who believe. I lay my sins before You, and ask that You will trample them under Your feet. Please teach me to tremble before all that You are, and to live humbly before Your searching as well as loving gaze. Amen.