You thought about the great apostle John. You always spent time with him when he lived here. He had been our leader, our pastor and our shepherd for a time. You got to know him very well actually. The man is tough as nails. He was boiled in oil. He was tarred and feathered. He has been beat-up badly. The Romans and the Pharisees hate him, I am sure it is similar to how the last generation hated Christ and put him on the cross. But, it is almost as if they are afraid to kill him. We marvel at the fact that he is still around. We can’t get over it. How can the best proof of Jesus’ existence and one of His original disciples still be around, when so many want him to just die?
I guess they are stuck with him. Maybe they fear God just a little, or maybe it is like John himself said in his own Gospel writing. There was that moment on the beach when Christ had rose from the dead and it seemed that Jesus wanted to be very intentional with his time and his words. He told Peter about how he would die and to follow him in death, while saying that He could keep John around until he comes back if he wants to. As for Peter, it was none of his business (John 21:15-25).
John and Peter had a strange relationship. They were close. They were friends, but fiercely competitive. If you don’t really know John, you wouldn’t ever think of it. John’s writing and preaching emphasize love and being the one whom Jesus loved, and loving your neighbors. So, if all you have is the written word you don’t know that this man didn’t want Peter or anyone beating him at anything. It would get rowdy not only with Peter, but with his brother James and their other business partner Peter’s brother Andrew. It didn’t matter if we were talking about fish or faith. John doesn’t like to loose and when it comes to knowing his worth and value, and that he is loved by God, there is no doubt Christ loves him, and this knowledge doesn’t make him smug, but mighty. After all, who can stop you, if you know who and whose you are?
John spoke about how embarrassing his mother was. They all laughed about it later, but she actually went to Christ and wanted James and John to sit at His right and His left to rule his kingdom. She even pressured them to ask Him. How embarrassing is that? Did she know she was making demands of the King of Kings? But they didn’t want anyone to get ahead of them, and fishing with Peter and Andrew was brutally competitive. But on that one day Jesus caught them at just the right moment. He saw them on the beach and said, “Follow me.” There was something about that moment that changed everything forever for John.
You thought man, we sure did have some good times with John. We even met Mary, the mother of Jesus herself. She and John were like son and mother. He treated her better than any blood relative son I had ever seen. John the last apostle is a giant to me.
Just then you looked at your wife and children as they were pondering similar thoughts. Where is John? What is he up to? Is he safe? You know not to worry about John, ultimately he is okay, but you don’t want to see him suffer. You remember seeing him before he went to prison. He was visibly hurting. He was tired, and maybe getting too old for this sort of thing. But, He stands for Christ, because he knows who he is. He knows Who he belongs to.
Then you heard it! The reader went on.
9 I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet 11 saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea (Revelation 1:9-12).”
There it is. This man John was our partner in the tribulation. He is being very modest. He is our guide, our shepherd. He is our earthly leader and more than that my friend, who is suffering. But, a partner in tribulation. He isn’t a partner in just any suffering, this was a real battle with a human government and demonic forces. This was real. That is the only thing that makes sense and gives me comfort during this horendeous time. This isn’t some apostle who followed someone 2000 years ago and wrote about some future trouble that we live in now. That isn’t useful. But, when it comes to this tribulation, my friend John is here to endure it with me. After John dies their will come a day where many will think they are strong believers because their may not be giants of the faith in the land to compare themselves to. I thought I was strong until I met John. Maybe it is because He knows He is loved and sometimes I don’t know.
He is with us in Spirit like our friend Paul liked to say. He was worshipping on the Sabbath day and when He got this message, and now we are to read it in the same Spirit. Then there it is. Time to focus, everyone silent as our loving leader wrote that He heard a voice like a trumpet saying write down a message and send it to the seven churches. Yes, he said our church, and He said it first! If our leader said he is hearing voices like a trumpet, then he heard something. I watched this man endure so much for the sake of the Lord He loves, but He can’t even mention His love for God, all He wants to talk about is how much he is loved by His Savior. He would never make up a story.
Christ sees me and John suffers with me. He sees us, Jesus suffers with us and He is calling us to something more. But, what does He want? I still want to know why this is happening?
Previous Episodes of Revelation
There are 260 chapters in the New Testament. You go to work 5 days a week. There are 52 weeks in a year. 52 X 5 = 260. This year, Take the Challenge! Change your life!
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