The gavel fell hard and loud. “You shall live out your life in isolation on the island of Patmos. A ration of food will be delivered to you as needed. No visitors may come to you. Are there any requests for more?”
John swallowed as he looked in the judge’s eyes. “Only one, your honor. May I have an allocation of parchment, ink and quills?”
The judge stroked is beard a few times. “I don’t see any harm in letting you send letters out, but you may not receive letters in return. Is that clear?”
John nodded. “Yes, that’s fine with me.”
The judge raised the gavel. “Very well, writing supplies will be included with your food. Case closed.”
John jerked as the gavel fell one last time.
John paced the perimeter of Patmos for the umpteenth time. His mind relived those precious times with Jesus. The lessons, the miracles, the changed lives sometimes felt like they occurred yesterday, not a lifetime ago.
He prayed again for the apostolic ability to walk on water as Peter did so he could be with the churches who needed his guidance.
A seagull screamed overhead.
John looked up. “Why, Father? Why am I here alone when others need me so badly? First I cared for Mary while the others advanced Your message. Now she’s gone as are they. It’s only me of Your followers.”
He looked at the stack of parchment protected from the weather. “What am I to write? I don’t know what the churches are up to. I haven’t felt compelled to write anything. Why am I still here? Use me or take me Home. Please!”
A heaviness fell over John as he approached the rock he used for a bed. He laid down and drifted quickly off into a dream.
He cringed at the sound behind him. Was it a trumpet? No, a voice spoke to him.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last.”
John’s heart skipped a beat. That could only be Jesus.
“Write what you see and send it to the seven churches in Asia: To Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.”
John spun around and noticed seven lampstands. In the midst of them stood the glorified Jesus. How do you put that into words? Seven stars were in Jesus’ right hand.
John laid prostrate at Jesus’ feet. A hand grasped his left shoulder and raised him back to his feet.
“Don’t be afraid, John. I am the First and the Last. I was dead, yet I live and will forever. Write what you’ve seen, what is now and what you will yet see. The seven stars are the seven angels of the churches in Asia. The lampstands are the churches you are to write to.
“To the church in Ephesus tell them they’ve left their first love…”
Of course You know these people better than I do. That’s exactly what’s happened to them. Why couldn’t I see that before?
The last book of our modern Bible is known as The Revelation of Jesus Christ according to the first few words in it. Who better to write that book than the last person alive who spent personal time with Jesus Christ when he walked on this earth?
How do you prepare any person for such an important undertaking? If You’re God you place him in isolation.
We aren’t told how long John spent on Patmos before he was given this divine revelation, nor are we told how long he lived after he wrote what he saw. We’re merely grateful he obeyed this calling to him.
John would have written the gospel account that bears his name, and the three letters to churches he led, previous to this endeavor. So, we know he could write, so did he.
His main challenge would be putting in words what he saw in the spiritual realm; i.e. the glorified Jesus, whom He’d seen on the Mount of Transfiguration; and 21st century objects with a 1st century experience and vocabulary. Now you know why there’s such a shroud of mystery attached to the book.
God often gives someone a time of solitude before He uses them in a mighty way.
Joseph was placed in a foreign country with a foreign language, then a prison for many years before he became the 2nd-in-command of Egypt.
Moses was sent to the back side of a desert for 40 years before he was called to lead God’s people to the Promised Land.
David was driven into exile by a madman Saul for several years before he took the throne of Israel to its mightiest point of power.
Even Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness to fast after His baptism and before His earthly ministry with the disciples began.
So, if you feel like your life is stuck in a holding pattern, waiting for your next assignment, enjoy this time of rest. God may tap you for service anytime, my friend.
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“But, I’m way too old to be of any use to anybody. I can’t even walk anymore.” You claim.
I have a question for you. Can you type? If so go to WordPress.com a start blog. It’s pretty easy to do and it’s free.
Write out your life experiences and how God showed up when you least expected Him to. Or, give advice you wish you’d heard before you knew it.
Consider that your mission field. You may not get many followers, but you may impact one person who’ll go out a changed person by what they read on your meager offering.
Perhaps someone will set your posts into a book after you’re called Home and it will become a best-seller reaching thousands for Christ.
With God anything is possible. But, He can’t use what you take to heaven with you.
John simply did as he was told in his time of isolation.
Because he did we have a refined hope of what to expect in the future.
I’ll see you later. Wade