While writing my book Letters from Jesus, I discovered a lot of gems in scripture. Some of these were hidden in the introductions Jesus gives his letters to the seven churches. Consider this introduction from his letter to the church in Ephesus:
These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands. (Rev. 2:1)
This is a truly remarkable picture of Jesus. But what does it mean?
Jesus takes a selfie
If the Bible is an art gallery, the Revelation letters are a special wing containing seven portraits of Jesus. These portraits are found at the beginning of each of the seven letters, and each is a treasure.
For starters, each is a self-portrait painted by Jesus himself. We are not hearing about Jesus second hand, and we are not seeing him through the eyes of another. This is Jesus revealing Jesus using word pictures found nowhere else in the Bible.
In the first portrait, we see Jesus holding seven stars. The seven stars in the Lord’s right hand are the angels or leaders of the seven churches (see Rev. 1:20). In scripture, those who teach the gospel of righteousness are called stars (Dan. 12:3), while false teachers are called wandering stars (Jude 1:13).
Why are the stars in his right hand? What is so special about that hand?
The right hand of God signifies his power and strength. “Your right hand, O Lord, is majestic in power,” sang Moses. “Your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy” (Ex. 15:6).
Held by the right hand of God
In the Psalms, God’s right hand saves us, holds us, and shelters us (Ps. 17:7, 60:5, 63:8). His right hand is also the place of honor (Acts 2:33–34).
So when Jesus tells the seven stars or pastors that he is holding them in his right hand, he is saying, “You have nothing to fear, for I am holding you with my strong and mighty right hand.”
In truth, Jesus holds all of us in his mighty right hand (see John 10:28). He holds you and me.
So the next time you have some anxiety-inducing thought about whether you might stumble at the final hurdle and be lost, incline your ear to Jesus and hear what he says. He says this:
I’ve got you. You have nothing to fear. No one can snatch you from my strong and mighty right hand.
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