I JOHN... YOUR BROTHER
In these end times no other book in the Scriptures assumes as much significance as the book of Revelation. While
the world looks upon the future with horror, the Bible -taught Christian awaits delightfully the return of his Master,
the Lord Jesus Christ. The events of September 11, 2001 and more recently that of December 13,2001 have sent
shockwaves through the length and breadth of this country. In this darkest hour the Christian waits for the Dawn
-the thousand-year rule of Christ when "peace and righteousness" will reign over the nations.
Twenty centuries ago, Domitian, the Roman infidel banished John the apostle to Patmos, a deserted island. Thrown
into hostile surroundings and cut off from all public spoken ministry, John must have spent his days and months in
desperation. God, however, did not allow that to happen. God turned that very adversity into an advantage. It is a
pleasure and privilege working with God. With God nothing runs on loss. Be it banishment or imprisonment, poverty
or physical infirmity- "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according
to his purpose" (Rom.8: 28). Confined to a prison cell Paul wrote to believers at Philippi, "I would ye should
understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the
gospel" (Phil.1: 12). God takes the worldly -wise "in their own craftiness" (Job 5:13) and tempers devil -engineered
human anger to His own praise. "Surely" Asaph tells us in Psa. 76: 10, "the wrath of man shall praise thee: the
remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain".
The blood of martyrs in ages past was meant to bury the faith of the Bible and Christ of the cross. As the opposing
wind currents enable every, kite to fly higher, God always uses the desolations of the enemy for His own cause! The
past twenty centuries of Church history have seen enemies rising and falling. The Church militant strides
triumphantly. Gamaliel's wisdom is yet to be proved wrong for he said to the persecutors of the church, "if it be of
God, ye cannot overthrow it" (Acts 5:39).
The Roman Emperor could shut out from John, all human company and comfort. Yet, his armies could not prevent
one visitor -Christ and His gracious ministrations! Did not Christ tell John and the other disciples, "If any man serve
me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be"? (John 12:26). In Christian service, Christ
takes us where He Himself goes. We not only work for our Master but we work with our Master. In the genealogy of
Judah we read about the potters who "dwelt with the king for his work" (1 Chro.4: 23). Elijah's conviction and
courage was born out of this inseparable union with his Master. He said, "As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before
whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years " (1 Kings 17:1). It is a solemn truth then, where Christ
sends us; there He goes with us. Christ Himself enjoyed this inseparable union with His Father in His earthly
service. He said, "He that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that
please him" (John 8:29).
Christ may sometimes withdraw all human company and consolation only to this end that we may enjoy and
experience Him in a fuller measure. The discloser of all end -time events, written for our profit today, is the direct
result of such a divine visitation. Despite receiving such visions and revelations, John remains clothed in humility:
He introduces himself in Rev. 1: 9 as "I John,...who also am your brother...".
As the only surviving apostle he had everything to boast of. His apostleship, intimacy with Christ in earthly ministry,
maturity, visions and revelations were his exclusive privileges. Yet he rejoiced in the simple fact that he was a
brother in the family of many brethren. God was pleased to use apostle Paul as an international, itinerant
evangelist. He alone was transported to the third heaven. We would be at a great loss if God would not have
revealed many truths to Paul. Yet, writing to Corinthians Paul wrote,"ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake" (2
Cor.4:5). Paul loved to call himself a Doulos, a slave (Rom.1: 1; Phil.1: 1 ; Tit.1 : 1) and also a prisoner of Jesus
Christ (Philemon 1 ). His reference to himself at other times as "an apostle"- nearly 8 times- (1Cor.1: 1; 2 Cor.1: 1;
Gal.1:1; Eph.1:1; Col.1:1; 1 Tim.1:1; 2 Tim.1 :1; Tit.1 :1) was used out of necessity to authenticate his message
which depended on the genuineness of his calling. John the Baptist follow this holy company to confess, "I am the
voice of one crying in the wilderness" (John 1: 23).
The endearing term "brother" is a family word. It links us at once to the brotherhood of all believers. Peter tells us to
"love the brotherhood" (1 Pet.2: 17). Why should Peter tell us to do something that we all obviously know? Though
adopted into the royal family of God we often face inter- personal problems. Think of Joseph and the events, which
led to the happening as recorded in Genesis 45. Joseph was envied and hated. He suffered cruelty, ingratitude from
the hands of his brothers. They sought to kill him. He was sold as a slave into Egypt. God sovereignty engineered
the circumstances for Joseph's advantage. God allowed men to walk over his head. Joseph was taken through fire
and through water but God brought him into a wealthy place (Psa.66:12). After years of separation, the very
brothers of Joseph were entered into his presence. They could not recognize in the ruler, the slave -turned premier.
Joseph tried for sometime to hide his identity but he could not do it any more. The Bible says that Joseph could not
refrain himself from weeping. He commanded every Egyptian to leave his presence. "Cause every man to go out
from me". Who are these? These are the Egyptians who received and elevated him in their palace. They were in
constant service attending on him. Yet they could never be a part of his intimate brotherhood, such a privilege
belonged to Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Zebulun, Issachar, Naphtali, Gad, Asher and Dan. What made Joseph to long
for fellowship of these his enemies? Just this -the fatherhood of Jacob, his father. Joseph remembered his beloved
father and poured out his love to his brothers who deserved no mercy. How often Israel would later annoy and
anger God Jehovah! Yet, He would not destroy them for the sake of Abraham, His friend. How heart -rending are
the words of God spoken through Hosea the prophet in Hos.11: 7-9! "And my people are bent to backsliding from
me: though they called them to the most High, none at all would exalt him. How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how
shall I deliver thee, Israel? How shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned
within me, my repentings are kindled together. I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to
Admah and Zeboim are two places destroyed along with Sodom and Gomorrah according to Deut.29: 23. God
would not give up Ephraim or Israel. Joseph would not give up his brothers. How tender are the words of the risen
Christ to Mary Magdalene in John 20: 17, "Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and
your Father; and to my God, and your God!" Who are these brethren? The disciples who were deserters were His
brethren. Thomas the doubter, Peter, the one who denied thrice, and the rest who ran away, composed His team;
Christ pursued them. He would not give them up. That is the spirit of Christian brotherhood. Peter has failed much.
It is unthinkable that a man who confessed, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God" should later say "I know
not the man". Peter not only failed the Lord but failed in the brotherhood.
He quickly condemned others while commending himself. He said, "Though all men shall be offended because of
thee, yet will never be offended" (Matt.26: 33). His loud protestations of love proved false. Even after meeting the
risen Lord, he went back to his old trade, fishing. His retreat was not quiet and secretive but public and contagious.
He dragged six others with him (John 21). God restored him. Thirty -three years after this restoration he wrote his
first epistle. In 1 Pet.1: 22 he says: "Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto
unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently".
Peter began saying in 1 Pet.1: 2, about the purpose of sanctification, "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God
the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience...". Twenty verses later he comes back to the subject
of purification. Why? To emphasise the need of loving the brethren. "Obedience to God, unfeigned love towards
brethren". May it adorn us for His glory. What is impossible in our natural state is possible with God. Christ died on
the cross to bring in this transformation to any repentant sinner. Call on Him today. (To be Contd.) P.S
I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD—2
Even though Peter loved the Lord so much, at that time he began to rebuke Him. That goes to show how their
minds were puzzled and confused on hearing these words. They thought, "Why should our Lord, Who has so much
power suffer like that and die?" They had seen His power at the grave of Lazarus, when He said, "Lazarus, come
forth!" They had no doubt about His power and authority. But when the Lord began to repeat these words they felt
very sad and dejected. That is why He said, "... In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have
overcome the world" (John 16:33). That is the message for all of us. It does not matter where you are born, where
you live, or what occupation or education you have. You have to go through the same sufferings, trials, and
hardship, somewhere some time. You will not be able to conquer them by your own strength. Even though normally
you are full of gratitude, very kind, very sincere, very good and so on, when sorrow and death come, you will be
distressed and depressed. Even the strongest man trembles when sufferings come.
There was a man in France called Voltaire, a very great scholar. He wrote many books and he was also a very
good speaker, but he was an atheist. He used to make fun of those who believed in God. A day came when he fell
sick and became serious. No doctor could diagnose his disease. Every night he would cry out in fear and terror. His
face used to be so fearful and horrible, that no nurse would nurse him for more than one night. At that time, all his
knowledge proved to be of no use. His whole being was trembling with terror for many, many weeks. If you do not
know the Lord Jesus Christ by experience, that will be your condition also, when the same sufferings come into your
life some day. Your fear will drive you out of control, and you will find many, many storms raging in your heart, home
and neighborhood and that is why this message is for you and for everyone else.
The Lord Jesus Christ has conquered death, the world, sin and Satan for you and for me, to make us more than
conquerors. Not only will you come out victorious over temptations but you will become stronger, richer and better
through the very same trials.