When Emperor Domitian came to rule in 81AD, he demanded that everyone worship him as god. He required everyone to burn incense in front of his statue in every town in the Roman Empire and declare him their god.
John, then in his early 90s, was the pastor of the church of Ephesus, and he led the church in Truth. He continued to preach that Jesus alone was to be worshiped as the only way to salvation amidst the idolatry of the surrounding polytheistic culture. Because John did not compromise, he suffered exile to the island of Patmos.
Emperor Domitian thought he could silence John by exiling him, but John would not be defeated. Exile may have separated him from Christian fellowship, but it never separated him from the Lord Jesus Christ. The emperor thought that he could break John’s spirit, but John was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he would not be broken.
The enemies of God thought they could banish John and silence the message of the Gospel, but God turned it into the most powerful vision of eternity we’ve ever been given—the book of Revelation. Because John yielded to the Holy Spirit and not to his circumstances, God transformed his punishment into praise, his pain into gain, and his stagnation into revelation.
When you are in your Patmos, go to God and let Him remind you of His promises so that by His Spirit He will grow your faith and lift you up.
Prayer: God, give me a vision of eternity with You so that I can bear up under pressure. Holy Spirit, help me to be more like Christ. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
“[W]e also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).
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