“I, John, [am] your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus... “ - Revelation 1:9
Revelation is often read as a coded letter written to give a glimpse into the distant future. But John, who adds his voice to that of Jesus and the Holy Spirit in this letter, often speaks in the present. This letter speaks as much about what is currently happening as about what will happen in the future.
From his own experience, John knew the tough times that his fellow believers in Jesus faced. John characterized the Christian faith and life as “the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus.” These are present-tense descriptions of following Jesus.
John’s words reveal the heart of a faithful pastor. He did not preach suffering and patient endurance from the safety of a distant pulpit. He spoke as a “brother” and as a “companion” in this suffering. This position of “standing with” fellow believers gave credibility to his words.
We need brothers and sisters, friends and companions to encourage us in a life of following Jesus. The testimony of fellow believers in Christ gives us the encouragement we need to live by faith, especially when “patient endurance” is hard to come by.
Whom can you encourage today by sharing with them the concerns you are facing? Who has shown you examples of faithful perseverance through difficulty in their lives?