Revelation 1:9-11: Let's Meet Our Writer
There is no question or doubt that the Apostle John is the human author of the book of Revelation. Let's take a couple of minutes and look at what we know about him. As always, I encourage you to take the time to look up and read all the scripture references that are listed. It is important to always confirm for yourself what the Word of God says.
Matthew 4:21-22 tells us that John, and his brother James, left his father's fishing business to follow Christ. He not only followed Jesus, he followed Jesus throughout His entire earthly ministry and John ultimately followed Jesus for the rest of his life. What a powerful testimony! I pray that when my life on earth is over that those around me can say that, "he followed Jesus". John present at the transfiguration (Matthew 17), when Jesus raised the daughter of Jarius from the dead (Mark 5), when Jesus was arrested (John 18), when Jesus was tried before the High Priest (John 18:16), and when Jesus hung dying on the cross (John 19:26). John was also present as Jesus taught and healed. Not only was John physically at the cross, Jesus spoke directly to John while He suffered on the cross (John 19:25-27) charging John to care for His mother. John was also there at the empty tomb (John 20:8) that very first Easter Sunday. We also know from multiple scriptures that John was often referred to as the beloved disciple.
By this time John had been a faithful servant of Jesus Christ for around 70 years! John had been one of the twelve disciples of Christ. John had been a pastor. John had been a mentor, an encourager, and a witness. He authored the Gospel of John, I John, II John and III John. John, by all accounts, is pushing 90 years of age at the time that he is a prisoner on the Island of Patmos. John is a great example of the Christian walk. He was faithful, regardless of his circumstance, situation, title or his age!
Notice how John introduces himself in this passage. He says that he is our brother, reminding us that all believers in Jesus Christ are part of the same spiritual family. He says that he is a companion. First, he says that he is a companion is suffering. The Christians in John's day were paying a heavy price for their faith in Christ. John himself (according to early historians) had been beaten, put in prison, and boiled in oil…and then, at 90 years of age, sent to Patmos, a Roman prison labor camp. Remember what God's Word says about the Christian life and suffering. Matthew 16:24 reminds us that the Christian life is a life of self-denial, self-death and of cross-bearing. 2 Timothy 3:12 reminds us that there is a cost to following Jesus. Next, John tells us that he is a companion in the Kingdom. This is another reminder that all believers in Christ serve the same Lord and Savior and are part of the same Kingdom of God. Finally, John says that he is a companion in endurance.
We know that John is writing from the Island of Patmos. Patmos is a small island in the Aegean Sea. It is some 30 miles from the city of Ephesus and is about 10 miles long and 6 miles wide. Patmos was formed from rough volcanic rock and was used by the Romans as a prison work camp. This was not a retirement home for pastors or a club-med! John was being punished for his faith in Christ and his steadfast obedience to the call of Christ on his life.
Let's take a moment to look at why the Christians were so hated by the Romans. They were hated for political reasons. The Roman Emperors were worshipped as gods and all Roman citizens and Roman subjects were required to participate in emperor worship. The Christians refused to engage is idol worship and were persecuted because of this.
The Christians were hated by the Romans for religious reasons. The Christians not only refused to worship the Roman Emperor, they also refused to worship the pantheon of Romans gods. The Romans were very superstitious and they believed that Christian refusal to worship their gods was the reason for natural disasters, wars, famines, etc… This made the Christians easy targets for persecution by both the Roman government and the common Roman citizen and subject in the street.
The Christians were hated by the Romans for social reasons. Roman society was built on a rigid class system and they believed that you were born into the class in which you belonged. Lower class of people were looked down upon. The Christians taught, and practiced, that all men (and women) were equal in the eyes of God. The Christian also refused to attend the Roman games, festivals and other social functions; separating themselves from the Roman culture and social structure. We would do well to remember today that God has called us to be in this world, not of it.
The Christians were hatred by the Romans for economic reasons. By not engaging in idol worship the Christians were not spending money at the Roman temples. By not engaging in the Roman games and festivals the Christians were not spending their money there. The Roman government deeply resented that the Christians were now putting their money into the society.
Revelation 1:10 clearly shows us that John was a worshipper! John is 90 years old and still worshipping. John had been boiled in oil and still worshipping. John is doing heavy labor in a Roman prison labor camp and still worship. Why is it that we make so many excuses today as to why we can't worship?
John is then told to write down the things that he sees and to send it to the seven churches in Asia. As believers, we are to be witness of what we have seen and experienced. I pray that each of us will be faithful witnesses.
Once again, thank you for being a part of our Midweek Discipleship Study online. I hope that if you ever find yourself in North Pole, Alaska that you will make a point to join us in person!