Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of New Georgia Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Comment on Revelation 1:9

[Below are a couple of paragraphs from what I've been working on this weekend.]
 I, John– your brother and co-fellowshipper in the hardship and kingdom and perseverance in Jesus– came to be on the island called Patmos due to the message of God and the testimony of Jesus. (Rev 1:9)
John wrote Revelation from the island of Patmos, having been exiled there due to his testimony for Christ. Of Patmos, Aune notes: “Patmos (now Patino), one of the Sponades Islands, is thirty miles or forty-five kilometers in circumference and is located thirty-seven miles west-southwest from Miletus, fifty miles from ancient Ephesus.”[1] Thomas adds: “It was the last stopping place when traveling from Rome to Ephesus and the first stopping place on a return trip to Rome.”[2] This geographical connection with Ephesus most likely explains why Ephesus is mentioned first in the list of “the seven churches.” 

John, writing to churches that are experiencing various degrees of difficulty or persecution, is himself no stranger to suffering for Christ; rather (as demonstrated in his then-current unjust exile), he is their “co-fellowshipper” in “hardship.” But this “hardship” is not alone; the present experience of hardship is a means used by God to bring His disciples into the full experience of His kingdom. Notice the striking similarity of the language used in this verse and in Acts 14:22, in which it is declared that “[it is] through many hardships that we must enter into the kingdom of God.” The “hardships” faced by followers of Jesus occur for a purpose, and this purpose will certainly be fulfilled, which is why John encourages his readers with the term “perseverance.” Hardship, kingdom participation, and perseverance are seen as inseparably connected in Revelation (and in the NT as a whole), and the truth of this connection is seen in the language of this verse as well; the terms are introduced with a single article (“the hardship and kingdom and perseverance,” as facets of one experience in this earthly existence, rather than “the hardship and the kingdom and the perseverance”).


[1]Aune, Revelation 1-5, 76-77.
[2]Thomas, Revelation 1-7, 87.

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