mentioned only once in the entire Bible. In Revelation 1:9: ¡§I
John, your brother, who share with you in Jesus the tribulation and the
kingdom and the patient endurance, was on the island called Patmos on
account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.¡¨
We usually do not pay too much attention to this name when we read through the verses.
However, the Bible is written with a purpose, for us to read and to learn something valuable for our day to day living. What can we learn from the Bible text here? Patmos is just a very small word, used only once in the entire Bible, and it is the name of a place. What more can we make of it? What can we learn from such a word, even as a specific noun, that only appears once in a book that has more than 78,000 words?
We usually do not pay too much attention to small insignificant words. This is our human mentality. Our attention is drawn to big headlines, huge concepts, eye-catching advertisements. Even if there is not much content, the professionals can make a mole hill into a mountain, often with half truths blown out of proportion. Our society prizes itself with catchy packaging. A product on the shelf is designed firstly to catch our eyes, then it has to feel good in our hands -- all made with a specific purpose in mind: to prompt you to buy. The question we must ask: Is the content worthy of the attention that is called for?
One architect master of the last century, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, summed up his experiences of design in a dictum: ¡§God is in the details¡¨. Nothing is without meaning, and nothing is wasted. His Word will not return void; it contains the power to bring forth and accomplish what the Lord has in His mind. And the Bible is a record of exactly that.
But what can we learn from this small detail: Patmos?
Would you pay attention to an insignificant name? And there is nothing else about Patmos within the pages of the Bible. What can we do about it?
The special thing about Patmos is that it is a place where God chose to meet with man.
Patmos, the isle of Apocalypse, in the earlier years had been known by many nick-names, such as: ¡§Jerusalem of the Aegean¡¨, or "the Sinai of the New Testament". This is a direct comparison with the Sinai of the OT, where God met and spoke with Moses. In Patmos, God met and spoke with John.
It is on this island that John received the revelation, that he saw the visions of the Almighty God and the forth-coming world events. If it were not for the revelation from God, Patmos would pass into history like the hundreds of small islands in the Aegean Sea, all of them so beautiful and tranquil, and any of these islands can be a perfect destination to enjoy a lovely holiday. Is that all you want to seek of life?
John was an ordinary fisherman in Galilee, Israel. There was nothing prestigious about him as a person, but it was his spiritual encounter with God through Jesus that earned him a permanent place in human history. Patmos, likewise, is just an ordinary Greek island, it is the extraordinary divine encounter which makes it special. Without God in our lives, we will just be a brief sojourner on this lonely blue planet. It is the same encounter with God that would make our life sparkle and worthwhile.
Thoughts to ponder:
1. Have you personally experienced a revelation? What makes you think that it was a "revelation" from God?
2. How would you describe your "encountering with God¡¨? Can you describe your most extraordinary divine encounter?