Summary: Christians picture Jesus as artists have portrayed Him when He walked the earth. Here John sees Jesus as we will see Him when we lay eyes on Him for the first time. He is the Resurrected Lord of Glory.
THE GLORIFIED CHRIST
As I approach this pulpit each Sunday there are two things attached to it that remind me of my priorities. One of them is a clock, which always reminds me that the time is short. The other is a plaque that says "Sir, we would see Jesus." Today our text gives a clear picture of the glorified Christ.
If you would really like to see Jesus, then look with me as we touch upon our passage. Let us look and see who is the One revealing His revelation to the church.
After John’s arrest by Roman soldiers, were his body and his mind so battered by the stark cruelty of banishment to that barren isle of Patmos that he became paranoid? or irrational? After all, he was an old man, deprived of family and friends, thrown among thieves and murderers to slave out an existence on an island stained with the blood of victims. Before exile most prisoners were beaten and tortured, denied warm clothing or adequate food, so John may have been in poor physical condition.
He had been the leader of Roman believers and a clear witness for Jesus. It was logical that the Emperor Domitian would want to destroy him and weaken his testimony. To kill him would have meant creating another Christian martyr, but to force him to beg for mercy and deny this Christ he followed would have been a victory. John though understood and had written in his gospel that in the world believers would have tribulation. Even though he was the "disciple whom Jesus loved," he was not immune from suffering.
Out of suffering have come some of the greatest triumphs of Christians. When circumstances look darkest, God has the opportunity to shine the brightest. No, John was not irrational or insane. He was the one person God entrusted to reveal the end of this present age and the beginning of a
new world (David Jeremiah, Escape the Coming Darkness, 43).
I. THE SITUATION, 9-10.
II. THE SOVEREIGN, 11-16.
I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos, because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
John, the humble servant of our Lord, identifies himself to believers as our brother. John, though he is the last remaining apostle, sees himself simply as our brother. Believers are all one family in Jesus Christ. The high and the low, the rich and the poor, male and female, all are brethren together, children of one Father, servants of the same Lord and joint heirs with the same hopes and inheritance. He goes on to remind his readers that he is a co-partner, a companion, with them in the tribulation or the suffering that is the common experience of all those who are in Christ Jesus.
The word tribulation is best interpreted as pressure or stress. He shares with them the same type of difficulties, afflictions and temptations they were going through. Not only did He share trouble with them but also shared the kingdom and the perseverance or endurance. The word patience or endurance is hypomone, literally meaning to remain under and speaks of the faith and hope developed by going through difficult circumstances.
John identified with what other Christians were experiencing because he had experienced and was experiencing the same developmental process. You too can identify with what other brethren are going through because you have had your own hurts and problems because of life and your developmental relationship with Jesus, a relationship which the world despises.
John was on the penal colony called Patmos because of his faithfulness to the Word of the Lord and the testimony to Jesus. Patmos was one of a small group of islands off the coast of Asia Minor. It was a bare, rocky, volcanic island with hills rising to about a thousand feet. It was about ten miles long and six miles wide. He had been banished, exiled to that inhospitable, desolate place by the persecuting Roman Government, not for crimes but because he stood by the Word of the Lord and the testimony that Jesus, not Caesar, is Lord. But the wrath of the wicked only brings the choice saint nearer the greatest blessings of God. The prisoner work camp, Patmos, became the door to the highest communion with heaven for John. The government dooms his body to the isle of convicts and from there God lifts his soul to soar on the wings of prophetic ecstasy.
So many of us cry, "Why me?" when problems pile one upon another. The question probably should be, "Why not me?" Why should we be exempt from trials? John had every right to bemoan his fate; he had been a faithful follower of the Master, but in spite of his loyalty, no, because of his loyalty, he was a prisoner doing rock hard time. Yet it was during this period of suffering that the normal limits of his mind and body would be laid aside so that John sees an awesome and majesty vision of the future. He wants to take us with him on his journey into the future.