Tuesday 17 July 2012

Bible Book:

"I, John, your brother who share with you in Jesus the persecution and the kingdom and the patient endurance, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus." (v. 9)

Revelation 1:9-20 Tuesday 17 July 2012


Today's passage is the second part of the prologueto the book of Revelation. Having established the majesty of God inthe first eight verses, now John makes it plainthat his authority for writing "in the Spirit" (v. 10) comesthrough a stunning and glorious vision of the resurrected Jesus(verses 12-18).

John's writing, in the form of a circular letter toseven churches in various degrees of difficulty, comes out ofpersonal hardship and persecution. John was in exile on the smallAegean island of Patmos - rugged, rocky and mountainous, ideal foruse as a penal settlement by the Romans. The authorities hadinterpreted his preaching as seditious and had exiled him on Patmosin an attempt to stop the spread of this new sect - or as we knowit, the early Church. Visiting the tranquil island of Patmos today,slowly walking up the 'monastery in a castle', it is hard toenvisage such a peaceful place as a prison for important politicalopponents; but this was the reality for John, and the harshness oflife on this barren island is reflected in much of the imagery ofRevelation.

In verse 11 we are introduced to the names of theseven churches on the mainland. John is aware of the persecutionthey are suffering; some have been imprisoned, beaten or evenkilled for their faith. They need encouragement. John also writeswith an understanding of their deep disappointment that, 60 yearsafter Jesus' ascension (Acts1:1-11), there has been no physical reappearance of their Lord.The emphasis of verses 19 and 20 is therefore on Jesus encouragingthe churches through seven angels (stars) or the prevailing spiritof the Church; and the seven churches themselves given the image oflampstands, bearing light to the world.


To Ponder

  • In what ways can you encourage those Christians who feelpersecuted or forgotten?
  • Does your church see itself as a "lampstand" or light to thecommunity around it? From where does the church gain its strengthor fuel?
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