Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Grace On The Island Of Patmos

"John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." - Revelation 1:4-6 NKJV

A royal greeting to people who have been made royal. John is the one passing this greeting on from God to us but listen to how he describes himself.

"I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ." - Revelation 1:9 NKJV

John is our brother who is in trouble just like we are and in the kingdom just like we are. He is not comfortably enjoying the lifestyle of a royal person either. He is in prison on an island but He comprehends the reason that he is there because he has seen Jesus and has been given a message.

This king and priest reference is used again later in the book.

"And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing." - Revelation 5:10-12 KJV

I was thinking this morning about how in a contest a panel of qualified individuals are chosen and appointed as judges. Those individuals then rate the contestants or competitors.

Patmos doesn't seem to be a great place. John is not vacationing there. It is a prison island filled with crazy people. We could very well be thinking like David thinks here is Psalm 13.

"To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, lest my enemy say, 'I have prevailed over him,' lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken. But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me." - Psalm 13:1-6 ESV

But when we see Jesus Patmos fades into the background. It does not go away but it has it's place and we see the perfection of God's plan. On a scale of 1 to 10 we will give God an 11. That is royal thinking. Somehow by the miraculous transfer of grace we worship now in Patmos like John was worshiping when he wrote this book.

To be very transparent... I don't always like my circumstances. At times I feel limited and stymied like a person trapped on an island filled with crazy people. I am just as crazy... arguing with God like a subjective lunatic while He remains calm, cool and objective. 'Taking counsel in my own soul' will make anyone crazy after just a short while when you are on Patmos. Patmos is filled with people who do that and instruct other how to so that also.

The sound of grace is a trumpet that raptures us up and puts us in the presence of God. There the past and future come into focus and God calls us His royal people. In that place God is our loving Father and our thinking ceases it's stormy circular motion and becomes calm and linear again. Glory overwhelms us and we begin to sing a new song.

God gave the Book of Revelation to John at Patmos and God gives us grace right here and now in the midst of our life. Today we can sing a new song with new royal lips. We can live amazed by grace when we see the King high and lifted up.


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