Revelation 1:9: The normal Christian life
We finally come to the first vision. The people of God are in a battle, they are about to be at the centre of the most powerful forces of the universe unleashed. They are about to be killed in large numbers. Massive upheavals are about to happen in the political sphere. Terrible judgements are about to be poured out upon the world. The Son of Man who will one day judge the world is going to be shown to set a series of events in motion which have gargantuan ramifications for the church. What do you think the first vision to the church going through this should be of?
This first vision is not often recognised for the profound role that it plays, most think that the real visions only begin in chapter 4. However, this is the most intimate of the visions as we see a picture of Christ as the Highpriest who tends His church who is also the judge of the universe. This is a vision which communicates Christ’s attentive intercessions, powerful preservation, terrifying glory, unconquerable victory and roles as judge and Highpriest. John is shown who is standing amongst them, behind the curtain acting on our behalf.
We will look this week at v9 to see John describing the Christian life, and then next week at the vision itself.
We cannot rush over John to get to the vision of Christ because there are some very important descriptions of the Christian life that we must note here. John describes the Christian experience in 3 ways in v9, ‘I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.’ Joel Osteen talks about your best life now, but John who is the last of the apostles as the rest have already been martyred, he identifying with the brethren he is writing to speaks about the Christian life in a very different way. He identifies himself as a fellow Christian with the family word, brother. We are one family with every other person who is a believer. And so we are ‘partners’ this word comes from the word we get for fellowship/community, ‘Koinonia.’ The church as a body suffers together in the same struggle. John describes it in three ways.