God's Reminder to Us- Keep Your Eyes on Jesus
As we open to Revelation 1, think about the setting God used to send to us, Christ's Last Words to His Church. Remember that the believers of the 1st Century were normal people with real problems. That is true about even the one God chose to record the words we will soon read.
John the apostle was a fisherman from small seaside town of Galilee. Now he is all alone, banished on Patmos, a prison colony island, off the coast of modern Turkey.
Yes, there were probably many other prisoners, but John was far from his family. As far as we know from history he was completely isolated from his wife and children, so he had no family encouragement.
As far as colleagues: his own brother James as well as all the other apostles, even Paul had been hunted down and murdered. So John had no dear old friends left to encourage him. It is not a real stretch to think that at a minimum, these were hard times.
For John, those days of following Christ, when Jesus called and taught him and all the other Apostles, seemed a long way off.
If any of us were in John’s sandals, trudging along the paths of Patmos, we could easily confess that Jesus felt far away at times. For someone who knew Jesus face-to-face for 3 plus years, having Christ ascended to Heaven meant at the least: Jesus and His plan, that used to be so clear, seemed distant.
But what God wanted John to know then, and us who live today to know right now is that:
Jesus Never Changes
Do you sometimes feel distant from the Lord? We have the Bible, we have the church, we have all those books and music, and tools that remind us of the Lord. But, as we go through all the struggles of life, most of us seem to arrive at those distant times, feeling far from the Lord.
Other times if we aren’t careful to maintain spiritual disciplines, we get unhealthy. By not eating God's Word regularly and exercising ourselves in ministry, we become weak. Weakness can cause us to slowly drift away from some of the gracious assurances that we had felt in the past, and we just hurt, ache and struggle on going through the motions of a walk with the Lord.
If we take the time to fully understand what lies before us in this passage, we will find that Revelation 1 was a very special gift to the Church reminding each of them back 2,000 years ago, and each of us today that Jesus Christ is the same (as Hebrews 13:8 reminds us).
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