“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)
Persecution is never easy to endure. As persecution grew more widespread during the late first century, many Christians must have been wondering if it was worth it to keep following Christ. John had been exiled to the Isle of Patmos during one of the rounds of persecution. It was there that Jesus Christ revealed to John what would be happening with the church and the world. It would have been easy for John to make a big deal of himself: he had walked with Jesus while Jesus lived on earth and now Jesus was revealing the future to him. Instead John described himself as a brother and a companion. He also reminded them that though they were going through tribulation at that time, they were enduring that tribulation for the sake of the kingdom of Jesus Christ.
John recognized something that many Christians today should, but don’t. There are no stars of the Christian Church other than Jesus. He knew he wasn’t a superstar or even a star, in God’s church, he was a family member and a companion. Sure, he was in exile because of his faith, but others were going through tribulations of a different sort for the same reason. For those of us who have committed our lives to Christ, we have one calling: to spread the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. We may do that in different ways. We may reach different people. We may have different results. But we all have the same mission and we all await the same reward in the kingdom of Jesus Christ. So, don’t think of yourself as too important, don’t look down on others who have a different responsibility, and keep on living for the word and the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Lord, Your people have endured a lot for the privilege of serving You throughout the ages. As we live in a relatively calm time and place, give us the boldness to proclaim the truth of Your word and the message of grace through Jesus Christ.