When you are on Patmos
“9 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.” Revelation 1:9-11 NIV
John writes as a pastor to the seven churches under his care. Those in the church are facing torture and persecution for their faith. John identifies himself as a, “brother and companion in the suffering.” If anyone could pull rank, it was John. Yet he didn’t identify Himself as the great Apostle, the church planter, the One whom Jesus loved. He identifies Himself as a brother and companion in suffering.
Effective pastors, mentors, church leaders, and Sunday School teachers would do well to realize that we are all in this together. There are no super-saints. There are no believers who do not face challenges and difficulties. We are all brothers and sisters. We are all, “companions in the suffering.”
John identifies why he found himself on Patmos. He is there, “because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.” This is problematic. We often think that when we are obedient, God will bless us. We think that the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus will get us to a favorable and prosperous place. For John, it led him to Patmos.
Patmos is an island compromising about 14 square miles. John’s exile to Patmos was not unique in the first century. The Romans often exiled political prisoners to Patmos.
What do you do when the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus lands you in Patmos?
1 – Spend time with the Spirit of God.
“10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit,” Revelation 1:10 NIV
Revelation 1:10 is the earliest designation in the Scripture of the Lord’s Day as being Sunday. Among the Roman Empire, the first day of each month was called the “Emperor’s Day” in honor of the Roman Emperor. It could be that Christians proclaimed their allegiance to Jesus by honoring the first day of the week as the Lord’s Day.
On the Lord’s Day, John was not trying to find a way to escape the island. He was not trying to find food. On the Lord’s Day, the Scripture tells us John was, “in the Spirit.” When you find yourself in exile, spend time with the Spirit of God. When you find yourself in a challenging place, spend time with the Spirit of God. When you find yourself struggling, spend time with the Spirit of God.
2 – Tune into the Words of Jesus.
“I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 which said:” Revelation 1:10-11 NIV
Did Jesus’ voice really sound like a trumpet? Perhaps. In the New Testament times, the sounding of a trumpet was a call to attention and to fix one’s attention. Hearing the voice of Jesus is a call to attention and to fix our attention on Him. When driving in town, drivers fix their ears to hear sirens from police, ambulance, or firetrucks because the sirens are a call to attention. The trumpet sound in New Testament times were a calling to pay attention. When you find yourself in Patmos, tune your ears into the words of Jesus.
3 – Take time to feed others.
“Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.” Revelation 1:11 NIV
John didn’t just receive revelation for himself. He didn’t just write on a scroll what he saw. He wrote it and sent it out to build others. John was instructed by the Lord to write what he saw, and to send it to the seven churches. John didn’t receive revelation just for himself. God gave him visions in order for him to invest it in the building of others. John invested into the churches. He invested into the people of God. He gave his life to invest in, bless, encourage, and feed others.
Holy Spirit speak… Your servant is listening. Help me to silence the sound of the world around me and hear Your Words. Empower me with boldness and courage to feed others. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Ty Tamasaka is an author who hold a Master of Arts Degree from Pacific Rim Christian University in Christian Ministry He is a Bible teacher who loves to encourage people to enjoy Jesus’ grace and extend His Kingdom. Ty just released his new book Starting Fresh: Following Jesus on the Adventure of a Lifetime in addition to More than a Conqueror: 5 Pathways to Personal Revival.