Why Patmos Was Priceless
Intro: Patmos is an island in the Aegean Sea. It was an island of volcanic rock. It was about 6 or 8 miles long and a mile wide. It has neither trees nor rivers; nor has it any land for cultivation, except some little nooks among the ledges of rocks. Though Patmos is deficient in trees, it abounds in flowery plants and shrubs. Lonely, desolate, barren, uninhabited, seldom visited, it had all the requisites which could be desired for a place of punishment, and banishment to that place would accomplish all that a persecutor could wish in silencing an apostle, without putting him to death.
Patmos is a picture of:
- Involuntary Location – he wasn’t there because he chose to be there; he was PUT there; he had other preferences
He could no doubt think of a hundred other places he’d rather be, but he was stuck here on Patmos.
- Isolated Loneliness – he was alone; no one could minister to him; it was just him and God; no doubt accustomed to fellowship and having other believers to eat with, pray with, study God’s word with, serve with, he was now alone.
- Impeded Labor – likened to clipping the wings of a bird or being hog-tied; extremely limited in his ability to perform; The last place in the world a preacher of the gospel wants to be is on an uninhabited island! How can you fulfil the Great Commission on a remote island in isolation?
- Irreparable Losses – gone from his family, friends, his name was smeared, his reputation marred, he was numbered with the transgressors; identified with criminals, convicts and prisoners. What would people say?
- Indefinite Lesson – what exactly am I supposed to be learning from this? How long will I be here? For all he knew, he was sent there to die. Banishment usually lasted until death. His situation was hopeless and dreary.
For the believer, a Patmos experience is simply finding yourself in a place where you don’t want to be, seemingly all alone, frustrated, the victim of injustice and feeling like your life is a waste and God’s promises aren’t for you.
In spite of John the Beloved’s predicament, God allowed the Isle of Patmos experience to be priceless.
I. Patmos is where the Truth was Recorded – vs. 2
Somehow, it’s during these “Patmos” experiences that we so passionately want the truth to be known.
We feel that if everybody just knew the truth, it would make our life better.
Remember this: God is keeping score. Let Him do it!
- Vs. 2 – Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of ALL THINGS that he saw
The truth didn’t have to be explained. It was probably impossible to explain it.
He couldn’t even explain what he saw (vs. 2) But it was being recorded.
II. Patmos is where the Testimony was Reported
A. The Testimony of Christ – vs. 2, 5
John was privileged to both hear and record the testimony of Jesus Christ.
What a priceless treasure!
Imagine being able to hear Jesus testify.
He would have missed it if he hadn’t been exiled to Patmos!
B. The Testimony of the Condemned – vs. 9, 10 (he was sentenced to a rock, but proved to be a rock instead!)
1. He was Saved – vs. 9 I am your brother…
2. He was Suffering – vs. 9 …a companion in tribulation
3. He was Serving – vs. 9 …for the word of God
4. He was Spirit-filled – vs. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day
5. He was Steadfast – vs. 10…on the Lord’s day. (He knew what day it was!)
- He might have been a convict; but he was consecrated.
- He might have been lonely, but he was a light.
- He might have been outnumbered, but he was outstanding.
- He might have been sentenced, but he stayed sanctified.
C. The Testimony of Church – vs. 19, 20
It was during his Patmos experience that John got a much more insightful look at the real condition of the church.
It’s easy sometimes in the hustle and bustle of activity to miss the realities of our condition.
It was on this lonely, quiet, uninhabited, isolated island that John saw what was really happening in the church.
It’s during these dark, lonely, solitary times that the needs of the church is really obvious.
II. Patmos is where Tribulation was Rewarded
Because John the Beloved was exiled to Patmos, he experienced a reward unlike any other.
A. Rewarded by a Divine Appearance – vs. 13 And being turned, I saw…the Son of man
As far as I know, not another person except for John has seen Jesus Christ after He ascended up to Heaven.
The Bible says “I saw one like unto the Son of man.”
Then it proceeds to give us a message in red.
Make no mistake. It was HIM!!!
John had seen him like this once before! (Matt. 17:2) on the Mount of Transfiguration.
B. Rewarded by a Divine Assurance – vs. 17 And he laid his right hand upon me, saying, Fear not…
Just out of curiosity, I wonder how many people had the privilege of Jesus laying his hand on them after the resurrection?
There’s a special kind of touch; a special kind of intimacy that is experienced during times of tribulation.
When there was no one else around to touch him; to hug him; to hold him; Jesus was there.
God has a way of touching and reassuring when nobody else can and nobody else does.
C. Rewarded by a Divine Assignment – vs. 19 Write the things…
Sometimes, your tribulation; your solitude; your exile uniquely prepares you to do something special for God.
Don’t blow your exile. Don’t waste the storm. Let it be used of God to open doors.
Ask God to knock the bark off; smooth out the rough edges; mature from it; grow from it; learn from it.
It was during a time of exile that God used John to do his greatest work – write the book of Revelation.
Yes – he wrote the Gospel of John. So did three other men.
Yes – he wrote the epistles to the church. So did a host of other men.
But nobody – not a single other person in the New Testament wrote a book of prophecy.
Not another man wrote a book that Jesus said that just reading it would provide a special blessing!
- Revelation 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
He sees your pain, your predicament, your place and He cares!
Your labor is not in vain in the Lord!
Conclusion: Reminder, on Patmos, it was mostly rock; no trees, but there were flowers.
An island of volcanic rock; a place that once was on fire but had now grown cold and hard and rough.
But it was a priceless place. Bloom where you’re planted.