I am John, a follower together with all of you. We suffer because Jesus is our king, but he gives us the strength to endure. I was sent to Patmos Island, because I had preached God’s message and had told about Jesus. On the Lord’s day the Spirit took control of me, and behind me I heard a loud voice that sounded like a trumpet. The voice said, “Write in a book what you see. Then send it to the seven churches in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.”
When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. There with the lampstands was someone who seemed to be the Son of Man. He was wearing a robe that reached down to his feet, and a gold cloth was wrapped around his chest. His head and his hair were white as wool or snow, and his eyes looked like flames of fire. His feet were glowing like bronze being heated in a furnace, and his voice sounded like the roar of a waterfall. (Revelation 1:9-15)
When everything goes wrong in your life, wouldn’t it be nice if Jesus came and told you why? The apostle John had that rare and wonderful experience. Jesus had been John’s closest and best friend. But more than fifty years had passed since he’d last seen him. As an old man, John was exiled for his faith to the island of Patmos, not far from what is today the nation of Turkey. Of all the apostles, he alone survived. The rest had been murdered. Christians everywhere were dying. The Romans had destroyed Jerusalem and burned the temple to the ground. Things did not appear to be going very well, not for him, not for any of God’s people.
Then, unexpectedly, Jesus met him in a vision. Not as he remembered him, but in all his glory as God. Jesus was finally back, and he told John to write down everything that he was about to say—and to share it with seven of the churches in what is today Turkey.
The book of Revelation, the result of John’s wonderful visions from Jesus, have ever after been a source of comfort to Christians suffering severe persecution for their faith. Jesus’ revelation was a comfort, not just to John, but to all believers everywhere.