They call me the Disciple Whom Jesus Loved…. Well, actually, I’m the only one who called me that. But, oh, how I loved our Jesus, our Messiah. It’s been decades since we watched Him ascend into the Heavens. But that hasn’t stopped followers from following. There are communities of faith throughout the region. From Rome to Babylon. Sadly, I believe I’m the only one of the 12 left. All the others were martyred for our faith in Jesus. Some days, because of the pain of this island prison, I think I’d rather be dead, as well.
You see, I’m exiled on this lonely, desolate isle called Patmos. There is not another soul in my life who loves the Master or follows the Way. I, too, have been cast out by the authorities for proclaiming the Good News that Jesus is the Light of the World. He loved us so. There are days when I am so consumed by His great love that I can hardly move. I remember those final hours like they were yesterday. The way the crowd jeered. The beatings and lashings. The public humiliation. The pain when He cried out from the cross. And the final exclamation, a weary, “It is finished.”
We were all stunned to think that a man would lay down his life for us like that… oh, how He loved us! But He was not merely a man, He was and is our Lord and our King!
My name is John. And the other day when I was praying and fully enveloped by the Holy Spirit I saw a vision… well, many visions, actually. And Jesus was in the midst of them. And He told me to write it all down. Messages of the future, the end of the earth as we know it. Challenges to churches. And a picture of the glory of eternity.
I saw Heaven in this dream. Oh, it is a beautiful place. The streets are paved with glistening gold. There is a river that flows through it; it sparkles like crystals. The gates never close for there is nothing to keep out. There is no evil here. There are no tears, no sorrow, no pain. And there is no darkness in Heaven, for the King, Jesus… He is the Light! And He sits on the throne in the center of Heaven. And from the throne there are flashes of lightning, and peals of thunder. And all around the throne I saw leaders, the elders, each one themselves worthy of commendation. But each one bowing low before Jesus. And day and after day, they worship the great King! They say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty. Who was, and is, and is to come again.”
And in my vision, I finally understand the answer to the question: “Why, why did Jesus have to die?” You see, many years ago, on that hill called Golgotha, all I understood was that He loved me. And in God’s grand plan of eternity, Jesus had to die for me. But in my vision, it all became crystal clear. He, Jesus, is the Passover Lamb, the final and ultimate sacrifice. As the Baptizer said: “He’s the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
Ever since the Garden of Eden — when God slaughtered an animal to give its skin to clothe Adam and Eve, to surround them with love and to restore them — God has required blood, shed on behalf of each of us, for the forgiveness of our sins and for our salvation. In the days of Abraham and Moses, it was the blood of bulls and rams. And every year people had to offer God many animals to cover their many sins. But Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice. It was His blood that was shed. And He became the Passover Lamb, slain and sacrificed. No lamb or bull ever volunteered for that assignment.
His love for me was so great… He voluntarily laid His life down for me! For you. Jesus had to be the Passover Lamb, because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin. Jesus, fully human, fully God, was the only solution to be the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
And the compassion He showed to others? The world could not hold a library full of books detailing His great actions and love for the people we met together.
And God rewarded Him. We saw Jesus alive in this world after the resurrection… and I know for certain that He lives in Heaven and sits on the Throne for all eternity!
In my vision, He once again said: “It is finished. It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.” On the cross He cried out, “I am thirsty.” And now, in the glory of eternity, Jesus is the one who says: “To the thirsty I will give water from the spring of the fountain of life! Come and drink!”
He has shown me the New Jerusalem. And three times He told me that He is coming back… He is coming soon!
And to that, I say: YES! Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus, come!
Some of the words, and perhaps thoughts, of the Apostle John, the writer of Revelation and the one whom Jesus loved.