“What we have heard and seen with our eyes…what we have seen and heard, we proclaim to you…” So John began his first epistle.
He is now on the Island of Patmos, exiled by a Roman Emperor. It has been many years since John heard the voice and saw the face of his Master. No one would blame him for feeling as if his time had passed, his witness completed, his ministry concluded.
But God was not done with this beloved disciple. There was one more letter Jesus needed him to write. (Do not forget, you are not relieved of duty, until He call you home!!!)And it begins with a sight for sore eyes. And this is the focus of our message Sunday.
It divides into three sections:
1. THE COMMISSION, 1:9-12
One commentator said, “It is hard for most Christians to imagine fellowship in the church without three so-called essentials — food, folks and fun. But John demonstrates the early church centered on an altogether different threesome — perseverance through tribulation in light of the coming kingdom. Tribulation and trials wear one down spiritually, emotionally and even physically. Christ needed to encourage seven churches (many throughout the centuries) and he commissioned John to write a letter fortifying their faith.
2. THE COMMISSIONER, 1:13-16
In the first section he hears a loud voice, now he turns and sees the voice. It comes from one “like a son of man.” (See Daniel 7:13.) It is his Master Jesus like he has never seen Him before. This is not the Suffering Servant, (Isaiah 53) but the Conquering King. Jesus wants John to communicate his power, dominion, judgement. This is a Commissioner with Consequences. This is One who can deal with anything and everything with a mere word or even thought.
3. THE COMMISSION, 1:17-20
John was not a weak man, but in the Presence of the Glorified Son, his heart trembles, knees wobble and he drops like a dead man. Jesus touches and comforts John. Perhaps he reminded him that fetal positions do not enhance legibility! He states the Commission in 1:19 and this forms the outline of the book.
Why the Vision? It mandates obedience and motivates perseverance. Churches and Christians throughout the centuries has wavered in obedience and grown weary in perseverance. Knowing this Jesus reminds them of Who He really is. And this is a sight for sore eyes!