As I write I am having to resist the urge to rush through this first chapter of Revelation. I know that chapters 4 through 21 are what most people are interested in studying, but chapters 1 through 3 are incredibly rich and deep, so hang in there. We will get to the entire book.
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Today let’s consider Revelation 1:9-11(ESV), but will pitch our tents on the first two verses. Let’s read it together.
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.”
John, our 90-plus year old author who is a political prisoner on the island of Patmos, is writing to seven churches in Asia Minor. The locations of those churches are named in verse 11, and we will talk more about them in the coming weeks. John is writing to fellow believers in Jesus. Therefore, John is writing to you and me, if we are believers in Jesus. In saying that he is their brother he tells his readers that he is a follower of Christ, which means he is their spiritual brother.
He goes on to say that he is a partner with them in the tribulation and kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus.
The word tribulation is used in the ESV, while the NIV uses the word suffering. The Greek word that was used in the original language is ‘thlipsis’ and it means “to crush, press, compress, squeeze. It denotes grievous physical affliction, or mental and spiritual distress.” (Zodhiates #2568) John was letting his readers know that he was smelling what they were stepping in!!!
As we walk through this world of trouble and trial, it is comforting to have someone come alongside who has walked the same path. When one person has walked the same path as another they can truly feel empathy for the situation. John could understand the trials his readers were enduring.
John told the churches that he is their partner in the patient endurance that is in Jesus. Patient endurance is something that we need in today’s world. The Greek word for patient describes a persevering, a bearing up under. It suggests that the person going through trial can go through without surrendering to or succumbing to the trial. I bet many of you are going through something right now that calls for a dose of patient endurance!
John also says that he was ‘in the Spirit on the Lord’s day’. I do not think it was an accident that John told his readers this tidbit of information. When we are going through trials it is easy to pull away from God, to try to cope on our own, or to be mad at God for allowing the trial. John had made a deliberate choice to keep his eyes and heart focused on God. He was doing exactly what he should be doing in the midst of trial ~ worshipping Jesus.
Let’s take a break here. Next time, we finish chapter one by looking at the vision that John saw on Patmos. Let’s engage!
- Patient endurance; bearing up under; persevering. Would anyone be willing to share a word of testimony about how God helped you persevere through a time of trial or trouble?
- Do you have ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’ in the faith who support you and encourage you? Are you that ‘brother’ or ‘sister’ support for someone else?
- Was there anything in today’s lesson that will strengthen your faith for The End and for today? If so, please share it in the comments.