Faithful and True: The One Man You Can Trust
We live in a society of cynics. We don’t believe anything we’re told without checking to see what angle the speaker is playing and what agenda is hidden. Some of my friends hate all politicians because none seem to tell the truth or put aside self-interest. Others oppose any war because all wars seem to be power struggles waged by people who want to take advantage of someone.
At the same time, we all know we must have leaders. We’re actually desperate for politicians, generals, and kings who are truly trustworthy. There are huge battles to fight. The world is filled with evils that require someone who will lead us into war, so to speak. So we need a good leader—someone faithful to what he tells us and true to his word. We’ve just been burned so many times we’ve given up on finding such a person.
Well, the book of Revelation is about that guy, Jesus.
Who strugglers need
Revelation was written by John to struggling churches. Some were being persecuted. Some were cozying up to sin. Some were lifeless or had become smug. In short, those believers struggled in the same ways that believers struggle today.
They’d all believed in Jesus. But John realized they also needed to be sure that Jesus was trustworthy and worth holding on to in tough times. Worth living for. Maybe even worth dying for.
John’s book tells how Jesus destroys evil kingdoms, devilish powers, sin, sickness, and death. And it isn’t just talk. John emphasizes from the start that Jesus is faithful to do it. His word is true, and he has the power. “He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world” (Revelation 1:5, NLT). “This is the message from the one who is the Amen—the faithful and true witness” (Revelation 3:14, NLT). Jesus is the leader they—and we—need.
Why Jesus is trustworthy
Of course, it’s one thing to claim to be truthful and another to prove it. We who are cynical might demand evidence that Jesus really has our best interests in mind, and John provides it.
After all the accounts of judgment on evildoers, the downfall of the devil, and worship in heaven—all told with vivid imagery—Revelation hits its climax with a final, good-versus-evil battle scene. The leader of heaven’s troops is Jesus:
Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war. His eyes were like flames of fire, and on his head were many crowns. A name was written on him that no one understood except himself. He wore a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. (Revelation 19:11-13, NLT)
There he is—our fiery fighter who wages a truly just war. We can know his word is true because he himself is the Word of God. Besides, he’s already proven his willingness to put our lives before his own. His robe is dipped in blood, don’t you see?
That bloody battle dress shows the fearsomeness of his judgment, of course. But we can’t help but recall that heaven’s chorus has praised him as our sacrificial Lamb: “For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God” (Revelation 5:9, NLT). This is one war, bloody though it may be, where the general has given himself up for the sake of those he’s rescuing. Jesus sacrificed his life because we are precious to him. There’s no way he has any hidden, selfish agenda.
What we must believe
What battles do you face? Do evil people threaten you? Are sickness and death nearby? Trust Jesus. With him, anything you suffer now will be worth it in the end.
Have you been cozy with a particular sin for so long that it seems impossible to tame anymore? Has your Christian life become cold and lifeless or your heart smug? Living for Jesus and giving up sin is hard because we imagine life will be less fun that way. But Jesus surely has our interests at heart. Believe it. Go to him.
Don’t be a cynic. Before you give up on finding a trustworthy answer to sin and evil, look again to him whose name is Faithful and True.
This article is part of a series on the names of Jesus. Next time: The Image of God.
Jack Klumpenhower is a writer and children’s ministry worker living in Colorado.