Although Greece is often thought of as the land south of Albania and Bulgaria bordering the Aegean Sea and including the cities of Athens and Thessalonica, a substantial part of the country consists of islands scattered throughout the Aegean Sea. Around 250km east-south-east of Athens there is a rugged island around 7 km in size from north to south and 4 km from east to west, with an area of 34 square kilometres. It is currently home to around 3000 people, and it is called Patmos.
On this island almost 2000 years ago the apostle John was imprisoned as punishment for preaching God’s word and talking about Jesus. The island has a cave which is now known as the Cave of the Apocalypse, and it is said to have been where John received his Revelation. The island name has several monasteries dedicated to the apostle John, and is frequently visited by Christian tourists. In the first chapter of his Revelation, John says:
I John, your brother and companion in adversity, and the Kingdom, and perseverance in Christ Jesus, was exiled on the island of Patmos because of preaching God’s Word and talking about Jesus Christ.
Although most followers of Jesus today do not experience the same degree of persecution and adversity as that experienced by John, we are still brothers and companions with him in the Kingdom and in perseverance in Christ Jesus, and the content of the Revelation is therefore still relevant to us.