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Jesus First

I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

Just as Genesis, the first book of the Bible, is a book of beginnings, Revelation, the last book of the Bible, is a book of new beginnings. Before these new beginnings can occur, however, a series of endings must transpire. Thus the book of Revelation represents numerous "finals" in the Word of God.

Genesis 3:9 is God's initial call to man: "And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?" Revelation 22:17 is God's final call to man: "And the Spirit and the bride say, come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Somewhere between Genesis 3:9 and Revelation 22:17 everyone who would enjoy eternity in heaven with Christ must answer one of God's calls. Perhaps you have answered Jesus' call in Matthew 11:28, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Or maybe it was the call of Christ in John 4:14, "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." But if you have not responded to the call of Christ, if you have never received Jesus Christ as your Saviour, you must respond to His call in order to receive eternal life.

Once we have responded positively to the Lord's call to salvation, we have a whole new outlook on the future. Our destiny is brighter. Our lives are sunnier. The birds' songs are sweeter. We look forward to serving Jesus every day and anticipate the day we shall live with Him in glory.

Just before God's final call in Revelation 22:17, Jesus verifies that He is indeed the one to whom we are called in salvation. He says, "I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star" (Revelation 22:16). These titles are applied to Him elsewhere in Scripture (cf. Isaiah 11:1; Numbers 24:17), but nowhere do they take on more meaning than just prior to the final call in the Bible. When we come to God in salvation, we come to the offspring of David. When we leave the darkness of sin, we enter the light of the Bright and Morning Star. It is the shining face of Jesus, the one who died for us, that we will first want to see when we enter the brightness of heaven. After all, being with our Savior is what makes heaven heavenly.

When Fanny Crosby, the hymn writer who wrote more than 8,000 gospel songs even though she was blinded at the age of six weeks, was pitied by a friend because she could not see, Miss Crosby replied, "Do you know that if at birth I had been able to make one petition, it would have been that I would have been born blind?" The friend was puzzled by this answer and asked her for further explanation. "Because when I get to heaven, the first face that shall ever gladden my sight will be that of my Savior!" We too will want to see our Savior first of all.

There is a story about Cyrus, the founder of the Persian Empire, who once captured a prince and his entire family. When they came before the monarch, Cyrus asked the prisoner, "What will you give me if I release you?" The prince replied, "The half of my wealth." "And if I release your children?" The prince replied, "Everything I possess." Finally Cyrus said, "And what will you give me if I will release your wife?" The prince replied, "Your Majesty, I will give myself." So moved was Cyrus by the devotion of this young prince that he freed him and his entire family. As the prince, his wife and children returned to their home, the prince said to his wife, "Wasn't Cyrus a handsome man!" With a tender look of love in her eyes, the wife said to her husband, "I did not notice. I could only keep my eyes on you the one who was willing to give himself for me."

Morning by morning we arise to give praise to the one who saved us. Day by day we serve the one who saved us. Evening by evening we rejoice in the one who saved us. Let's concentrate today on loving the Lord Jesus and adoring no other face than the one who loved us so much that He died for us (John 3:16).

MORNING HYMN All hail the pow'r of Jesus' name! Let angels prostrate fall; Bring forth the royal diadem, And crown Him Lord of all.

Devotional is used with permission from the author. It may be used solely for personal, noncommercial, and informational purposes. Republication or redistribution of this devotional is prohibited.

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