Revelation 1:9-17 “I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10) On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11) which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.” 12) I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13) and among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14) His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15) His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16) In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. 17) When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.”
You know, sometimes we as Christians can tend to get our eyes off of the Lord and on to our circumstances. When things aren’t going so well, we can really start to wonder if this is the way it is supposed to be. Well, here in the book of Revelation- the great Apostle John is in a very rough place- where things aren’t going so well. He had been banished to this rocky prison island called Patmos because of preaching God’s word and telling others about Jesus. But what I love about his attitude is that he still finds a way to worship God and trust Him- even in his horrible circumstances. Just look at verse 9: He says that he is “our brother, and our companion in the suffering, and kingdom, and patient endurance that are ours in Christ Jesus.” In other words- these are the things that can happen to all of us when we follow Jesus.
Now, I think we all like the promise of the Kingdom mentioned here- right? I mean- yes, I love the part of following Jesus that promises me heaven- who doesn’t? But notice in verse 9 how the promise of the kingdom is sandwiched between two other promises: Suffering and patient endurance. These are the promises that are not as easy to swallow, yet John knows that this is all part of the journey. An important truth for us to know is that when you are someone who stands for Christ, there will be suffering, but in the midst of that suffering we realize that Jesus is coming back and the kingdom will come, and with that hope, we can then have patient endurance to overcome.
It’s also interesting to note that in verse 10, he says that it was “the Lord’s Day and I was in the Spirit.” Now, in the early church days- the “Lord’s day” was Sunday- the day that believers gathered together for worship. So, here we see John “in the Spirit” (worshiping) on Sunday- the same day that all of the other churches that he was overseeing would have been meeting. It is so important that we find a way to worship even when we are in the most dismal of places.
John was no doubt longing to be with the other believers of the churches that he was overseeing in that day- and right at that moment- he hears a voice like a trumpet saying: “write to the seven churches.” He then turns around to see Jesus standing in the midst of the churches (Lampstands) as if Jesus is telling him: “I am with them.”
It’s at this point that he sees Jesus, High and exalted- telling him to “fear not!” (Vs 13-17)
And this is a great place to see Jesus for who He is.
Have you ever been in a place in your life that left you feeling hopeless, helpless and lonely? Have you ever been so concerned about you friends and your loved ones, but you couldn’t be there for them at that time in there lives?
Well this is exactly where John finds himself, in the book of Revelation.
And it’s at this point in the midst of his suffering that he worships. It’s at this point that he prays. And it’s at this point that he sees Jesus Christ revealed to him- stronger than ever. It’s at this point that Jesus places his hand on John’s shoulder and says: “Don’t be afraid”
Lord God, help us to always trust you in every circumstance. You are the one that holds everything in your hands. Help us to always find a way to be in a place where we can really see you for who you are. In Jesus name– AMEN
Jeff Brower is a longtime friend of the camp whose musical talent and Christian witness has been a blessing to the camp for many years.