Thoughts on the Passage
John gives his welcome to the churches and gives the purpose of this letter.
First, John the apostle is exiled on the island of Patmos. This was a prison island and John was put there to die. It is a rugged island exposed to the wind and rain with little place for shelter. John is over 80 years old and these conditions are very difficult for him. He is isolated and does not expect to live very long.
Second, he is there because of his confession of faith in Jesus and his work on behalf of the churches. His faith in Jesus is being put to the test – like many of the churches that he oversaw. Today, we call an overseer for many churches a bishop – John was the bishop of these churches. Tradition has it that he managed the ministry of these churches from the church at Ephesus.
Third, John was worshipping one Sunday morning and He hears a voice – which gives a message for the churches John is responsible for. In other words, John’s work is not done. God wants to release a message to these churches and He gives it to John – the leader for these churches. John’s work is not done, even though he thinks he is finished. God still has work for John! Being exiled on an island as an old man, isolated and threated with death by the elements does not stop God from wanting to use John.
The purpose of this letter is a message from God. It is a message to John (your work is not done), it is a message to the churches under John’s ministry, it is a message to the Church universal (it is part of our bible), and it is a message to the world – Jesus is coming back.
It is a special message. It is a Revelation of Jesus to all these groups. As we look at this message, we need to pray and ask God to give us insight into His message. It was for John, it was for the early church, it is for us as the Church today and it is for our world.
Time to Prayer
Father, today as I read these verses, I see that our situations do not define Your plan for us. John could not have imagined that You would still use Him. I cannot imagine at times that You want to use me, or some other people. Failures, isolation, old age (and its limitations), or just being worn out causes us to say – “God it is time for the next generation of people to carry this message”. You do not say that! To me and everyone else, You have a purpose for us as long as we live. Praise God!
Also, as we go through this book of Revelation, give us understanding. When You have a message, it is not a hidden message, it is a message with clarity. Open it up to our hearts we pray. Give us ears to hear and a heart to receive this message. In Jesus Name, Amen.