The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), December 26
The Apostle John is an old man (92 years of age) living as a prisoner on a penal colony when his life is interrupted by a voice and a revelation. He testifies, “I was in the Spirit on the LORD’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last’ . . . . Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me” (1:10, 12).
The reader must pause and ponder what it was like for John to hear Jesus’ voice and to see His glorified being after the passing of so many years. No longer surrounded by his peers, having outlived them, John must have felt alone on the island of Patmos, forgotten, and too old to do anyone any good. Perhaps he even felt contented with his legacy; his gospel account offers riveting teaching regarding Jesus’ deity, and his epistle written to assure first century believers of eternal life (1 Jn. 5:13) was widely read throughout all the churches. Little did he know that this LORD’s Day would give John his final legacy.
This scene offers a number of truths about aging saints:
- Age has little to do with usefulness to God; therefore, it is always too soon to give in to despair. One’s best legacy may occur in one’s final years.
- No person is too old to experience Christ in a fresh way.
- Though John is abandoned and forgotten by man, God never abandons His own.
- Experiencing God continues throughout one’s life. No one ever arrives spiritually; therefore, faithfulness until the very end is rewarded in death and ushering into the very presence of the Lord.
- Being in the Spirit at a designated time (the Lord’s day) prepared John to receive Christ’s revelation; therefore, worship prepares those who belong to Christ to hear from Him.
- John had no idea when he awoke that morning that that day would differ from all previous days; he chose to worship the Lord as usual. Faithfulness in life’s circumstances and years prepares Christ-followers for further illumination.
- Younger Christ-followers should honor and respect the aged saints in their midst. Theirs is a history rich in intimacy with God; therefore, younger believers must treat older saints with respect.
Never despise those saints who live in harsh circumstances (John had been boiled in oil and abandoned in a penal colony on an island), for they may experience God in ways unknown to you.
Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (Jude; Revelation 1:1-2:29):
What Old Testament examples does Jude use to describe false teachers? What examples from nature does he use? What characterizes false teachers?
How does John describe Jesus in the opening verses addressed to the seven churches?
John saw Jesus last as He ascended into heaven. How does this vision of Christ in the Revelation differ from his last sight of Christ?
What different descriptions of Himself does Jesus offer to the churches in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, and Thyatira?