REVELATION – Jesus Determines the Life of the Church – Part1

Image source: PursueGod

Barely twenty years after the resurrection of Jesus, the Church was experiencing severe persecution from Emperor Nero of Rome. This continued for several years even after Nero had died. The early Christians needed to know when this would all end; they needed to know if Jesus was still Lord of lords and King of kings.

This was the setting when Jesus visited Apostle John, in a vision on the island of Patmos. The island was a Roman hard labour prison camp where John was locked up because of his Christian faith. Things do not happen by accident; John was likely praying about the persecution of the Church and looking for answers. No surprises then that the first issue Jesus addresses is his relationship with the Church.

Revelation 1:9-20 (The Living Bible) (shortened) states: “It is I, your brother John, a fellow sufferer for the Lord’s sake… I was on the island of Patmos, exiled there for preaching… It was the Lord’s Day and I was worshiping, when suddenly I heard a loud voice… When I turned… behind me were seven candlesticks of gold… among them was one who looked like Jesus… He held seven stars in his right hand… I fell at his feet as dead; but he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid… Write down what you have just seen… The seven stars are the leaders of the seven churches, and the seven candlesticks are the churches themselves.”

John saw Jesus holding seven stars and walking among seven candlesticks of gold; John was told the stars are the leaders of the Church, the candlesticks are the Churches. The clear meaning is that Jesus is here, involved in the life of the Churches and their leaders. Why seven stars? In the Bible, numbers have symbolic meaning – seven means completion; seven Churches stand for all the Churches in the world.

To the severely persecuted Church, seeing Jesus among them was comforting and encouraging. Jesus was not just among the Churches, but in the next Chapter, Jesus sent messages to the Churches. Reading these messages was like serving water to someone who had been travelling in the desert and starving for water.

Revelation Chapters 1-3 focus on earthly matters about the Churches. Revelation Chapter 4 and after address heavenly concerns, from a past-present-future approach. We will continue with Revelation Chapters 2 and 3 next week, and in two weeks time look into the exciting heavenly vision that starts in Chapter 4.

Lord, help us see Jesus in Revelation, Amen!

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