Summary: Second in a Revelation series focusing on the appearance of Jesus to John.
I. PROLOGUE 1:1-20
A. John identified his source 1-2
C. John identified himself and his audience (readers) 1:4a
D. John prayed for an outpouring of God’s grace and peace on us
E. John offered a grand doxology of gratitude and praise to Jesus
F. John introduced his theme – Jesus is coming!
G. John encountered the resurrected Jesus
1. John shares his circumstance 1:9-10
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.
Physical Circumstance (9)
As to His physical circumstance, the authorities exiled John to the Roman prison Island of Patmos; a barren, 10x6mile nearly treeless chunk of volcanic rock with some mountain peaks reaching 800 feet located off the coast of modern day Turkey. (An ancient Alcatraz)
The aging apostle identified with his readers on a personal level rather than a pastoral one.
He used the terms “brother” and “companion”. He referenced the persecution that was affecting Christians everywhere. He called their attention to the reason they were being singled out. They were citizens of a rival kingdom. He also referenced their “perseverance” (purposefully remain under) in the midst of it all because of their commitment to Jesus.
John mentions this particular character trait six more times in connection to the events of Revelation. (2:2; 2:3; 2:19; 3:10; 13:10; 14:12)
The authorities exiled John to the Patmos prison colony for preaching the Gospel.
“Because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.”
The theme reoccurs throughout the book. They naively thought exiling John might diminish his influence. Surprise! It only resulted in one of the most influential books of the New Testament.
Stephen was the first Christian to be killed for the faith. Herod’s henchman executed John’s own brother James early in the church history. By the time of this writing, Peter had been crucified, the other apostles killed and Paul beheaded in Rome. Some date the circulation of Revelation during Domitian’s rule when both Christians and Jews suffered significant persecution. He even slaughtered some of his own relatives suspected of sympathizing with Jews and Christians. It was “open season” on Christians all across the Roman Empire.
Domitian perceived Christianity a threat to the empire and his own claim to deity. Because John posed a threat – preaching the Kingdom of God – he was exiled. Perhaps because of his popularity and notoriety or maybe his age, he wasn’t executed but exiled instead. Conditions on the Island would have been severe.
The conditions under which he lived would have been harsh. Exhausting labor under the watchful eye (and ready whip) of a Roman overseer, insufficient food and clothing, and having to sleep on the bare ground would have taken their toll on a ninety-year-old man. It was on that bleak, barren island, under those brutal conditions, that John received the most extensive revelation of the future ever given.(John MacArthur)