Summary: In the midst of hardship, John remained faithful to Christ, having served Him for 60 over years. He was determined to worship Him in adverse circumstances and experienced God’s presence and heard His voice. Worship Him always!
Rev 1:9-12 Worship Christ ES 20Jan08 1934
John knows Christ in more ways than one.
• He saw Christ in person while on earth, spending 3 years every day with Him.
• I came to notice also that when Jesus prays, He often bring 3 disciples along – John, James and Peter: At the Mount of Transfiguration (Luke 9:28), at the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt 26:36). John saw Jesus at prayer at close proximity.
• He saw His crucifixion, His resurrection and His ascension. Now he sees the glorious Christ.
Rev 1:9 “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.”
• This is not something we would say – we think of worldly success and earthly comfort as being “ours in Jesus”, but not suffering, not patient endurance.
• Yet this was the reality in John’s time. Christians were suffering, under the Roman Emperor Domitian.
• History tells us Domitian was the most cruel of all the Roman emperors. He declared himself to be god and sentence to death those who refuse to worship him.
• Many were thrown to the lions in the coliseum, and others burnt at the stake.
John was banished to the island of Patmos - a prison island (10km by 16km), like Alcatraz Island (USA) in the 1960s.
• They were assigned to manual labour in the mines and quarries.
• John suffered because “of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.”
• I believe, if he had played it safe and not rock the boat too much, he would have been able to live a more comfortable life, and avoid all that hardship.
• But he did not. He preached Christ and suffered.
When have we suffered for the sake of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus?
• Have we really suffered because we serve Him? Did we make any sacrifices? Are we ashamed of the Gospel?
• I make visits often with my dad. He is good at seizing the opportunity to turn the conversation towards Christ. Sometimes I’m more hesitant – go slow, don’t offend people, they may not like to hear about Jesus… More often than not, I am afraid of what man will think, rather than how God will think.
God’s revelations often come through difficult environment.
• Israel saw God’s miracles in the wilderness, without food and water.
• Elijah was running for his life when God provided his daily meals.
• Paul and Silas were singing and praising God and an earthquake shoke the prison, and their chains just fell off (Acts 16)
• Most of Paul’s epistles were written from the prison cell, not from an air-con room with table and a chair.
We tend to want it both ways.
• We want God to perform miracles, but we do not want to take any risk.
• We want God to save us, but we do not want to make any sacrifice.
• We want God to do everything while we remain in our comfort zone.
God is more interested in your character than He is in your comfort.
• Overcoming obstacles is what will develop in you the faith you need to fulfil your God-given purpose.
• The truth is that it can’t happen any other way!
None of us would want to be in the place John found himself – suffering in a prison island, having been serving Christ for 60 years.
• But that’s where it happened – Christ revealed Himself to John in a way that no man has ever seen.
• Not in a temple somewhere, not even in a church, but on a barren island full of criminals and sinners.
• There, can you believe it, the Holy Spirit showed up.
Rev 1:10 “On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit…”
• John was still keeping days, at 90 years old; to make sure he worships on the Lord’s Day!
• Imagine this. Who would know what day it is in prison? No calendar. Same routine every day.
• I doubt the other prisoners knew, or even cared, if it was Sunday, Monday or Tuesday, or any other day of the week.
• They may have marked their cell walls with a line, and then crossed off the lines each week, just to keep track of time.
• But John marked the Lord’s Day, and spent time with the Lord on the Lord’s Day.
Do you mark the Lord’s Day?
• Do you really mark this day and keep your appointment with Him?
• The revelation came to a man who was broken, humble and thirsting for Him.