I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”
12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
19 “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. 20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
John is a companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus. In many ways, this is a beautiful summary of who the church is called to be until we get to the end of the vision, the end of the age when Christ comes and makes the new heaven and new earth. We are sufferers. Jesus didn’t come to redeem us from the suffering in this life. Rather, he came to redeem us through suffering. He came to suffer for us so that when we suffer we can understand his love for us. Our suffering can be a participation in the life of Christ. Our suffering can be a receiving of power and grace. Our suffering can help drive us to our destination because our hope is in the Lord. Our suffering can get us where we want to go...to the very holy of holies, the gates of heaven, where we are headed at the end of John’s vision. In the midst of suffering, the kingdom of God is breaking through the darkness. The reign of God is evident through the lives of the faithful who live like Jesus and patiently endure trials and tribulations until the glory of the Lord replaces the sun and the moon as the permanent light by which we live and rejoice.
Has there been a time in your life when God used the suffering you were going through to help you understand His work of redemption for you? Which feature of Jesus speaks to you the most? Is your understanding of Jesus' character and attributes affected by John’s description of his various features? How does 1:17 affect the picture you have of Jesus in your mind?
Holy God, we know all of creation is groaning but a new creation is coming. We praise you that your glory is the light within our midst. Help us remind each other of your glorious presence with us. Come Holy Spirit. Amen
Is all creation groaning?
Please enjoy this song as it’s our prayer for the week.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.