It is most striking how it came about that John got this sight of Christ. The change was not in Christ's presence, but in John's eyes. Christ did not come. He was there. John's eyes were opened. Then he saw Him who stands watching and waiting. Christ is here. The Man of Fire and of restraining love is here on the earth in the midst of His Church looking and longing, listening, and feeling.
If only our eyes were opened to see! There standeth One in our midst whom we recognize not. Wherever any company of believers banded together as a Church to worship and pray and break holy bread are gathered, under whatever local name or in connection with whatever Church communion, He stands in the midst, this crowned Christ of the Patmos Revelation.
Our eyes need treatment. The hinge of the eyelid is in the will and in the heart. A bended or bending will opens the eye. A brooding heart opens it yet more in spirit vision. Then we shall see Him, as He is now in our midst, waiting our obedience.
Those forty days between the resurrection and the ascension are seen to be illustrations of this. One can see through this Revelation sight that this is one of the chief things the Master is teaching as He still lingers on earth in His resurrection body.
Along the old Emmaus road, gathered about the evening meal in the twilight, twice in the upper room at Jerusalem, He appears to little groups of His faithful followers. Their hearts are burning with the thought of Him, they are talking with both tongue and eyes about Him. But that He is in their midst is the last thing to come into their minds. Then their eyes are opened to see Him in their midst. It was a forty-days' session in their training school. Then He said quietly as His bodily presence goes up into the blue: "Lo! I am with you all the days until the end." Their mission and His presence are inseparably linked.
And it is striking again to note how John's Gospel ends. The others describe the Ascension. John begins his Gospel with Jesus in the bosom of the Father before the world was, and ends with Him walking and talking with a little group of fishermen along the shore of the waters of Galilee's Lake.
This is what the Church needs to-day, a sight of Christ as He is now. Nothing else can save its life. And nothing less can save its mission from utter impending failure.
And yet while the distinctive message here is for the Church, it is an individual message, too. It is for each of us. I am the Church, as much of it as I am, counted as one. You are the Church. The Church is made up of you and me and the rest of us. I must take this message for as much of the Church as I am. The Man of Fire is depending on me to be a candlestick for His light. It is on me He is patiently waiting to obey as fully as He means I should.