By Stuart Powell
Listen to John’s description in Revelation of a rider on a white horse: “I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war” (Revelation 19:11).
In his revelation, John saw many awesome sights from Jesus. At first glance, this particular scene he described was not unique. At the beginning of chapter 6, John had seen a white horse and its rider. But the rider in Revelation 19 was different from the first one. The latter rider was not bent on conquest like the first. Instead, this rider’s passion was justice and righteousness.
Since the day of man’s first sin, the demand for justice has piled up through all generations of humanity. We all see the absence of justice and feel the impact of missing righteousness. Even when people of faith are given the liberty to participate in justice on earth, it is never complete. John found no justice on Patmos. Not one righteous person could change his sentence.
Then came the rider on the second white horse.
The human race is tainted with sin and cannot resolve the corruption of our collective nature. Not only is the rider on the second white horse able to fix what is broken in humanity—he already has. The one called “Faithful and True” did not accomplish the leveling of justice through military power or political influence. He did not establish righteousness through persuasive speech and courage. He fulfills what all people long to see through the divine authority given to him because of his obedience and sacrifice.
The rider on the second white horse is none other than Jesus, the Son of God. He was conceived as God in the flesh and born to a Jewish family. He grew up under the training of the Law of Moses without breaking a single command. He was mocked by the self-righteous of Jerusalem and killed by the injustice of imperial Rome. In his death justice and righteousness began their invasion of humanity. The image of this conqueror should not fill us with fear. Instead, in him we find hope for the revival of God’s original design where justice is available to all people and righteousness dwells in every human heart.
As you eat and drink of the emblems of Communion, make this your plea to the rider of the second white horse: Come, Lord Jesus.
Stuart Powell lives outside of Terre Haute, Indiana, where he serves with the North Side Christian Church.