The Greek Island of Patmos is a popular place these days. Surrounded by the Agean Sea, this small, idyllic outcrop of land is dotted with resorts, spas and beaches. But in the 1st century it was the lonely, rugged home of the apostle John, near the end of his life. In Rev.1:9 he said he was there because of tribulation and his work to spread the testimony of Jesus. The Romans had exiled him to Patmos, no doubt trying to silence his influence. They certainly failed!

It would have been easy for John to become discouraged, giving up in such isolation, feeling useless. But Jesus gave him a vision which he wrote down for Christians of all time: the Book of Revelation. It speaks of victory, hope and perseverance. “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev. 2:2). When John looked out on the desolate landscape every day, he refused to give in to pessimism. He glorified God for the victory he had won through Jesus, and looked forward to the glories of the future. He was a beacon of hope for the early church that was burdened with Roman persecution.

The world thinks of victory as military supremacy, beating off disease, or winning in sports. Real victory deals with bigger issues than that. Jesus gives us the power to defeat sin, guilt, punishment, and death. It allows person to look at unbearable, depressing circumstances and see joy and hope beyond them. John saw victory ahead. Can you?

– Tim Johnson