Two reasons to believe in Jesus AND heaven: John told us, and we have met Jesus!
14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death.
What is the teaching of the wise? John said, “But these things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have eternal life.” John 20:31 We base our faith on the fact that Jesus is who John said he is. We believe:
1. That Jesus is God, that He came from God for a specific purpose, which was to die in our place so that we could be re-established with the Father.
2. That Jesus rose from the dead and is the Firstborn of all who will rise from the dead when He returns.
3. That Jesus ascended back to His throne in heaven and awaits the time when the Father says, “Son, go get your children!”
4. That Jesus is COMING AGAIN!
There is another reason that is better than any explanation that John could give us. It is that time when the Holy Spirit came to us and asked us to allow Him (Jesus) to come into our lives as LORD and Savior. WE HAVE MET HIM! Not only that, He RESIDES in our hearts as LORD! I don’t need anyone to convince me that Jesus is who He says He is. Jesus HIMSELF confirms in my inner being His Lordship.
Since we are talking about John, let’s look at his testimony:
1. He walked with Jesus for 3+ years. He heard His teaching, he saw the miracles, he watched Him die, and he ate breakfast with Him on the shore of the sea of Galilee the next week.
2. He experienced the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Jesus came to take up residence in his heart! Up until that time, the Holy Spirit was WITH him, but not IN him. Now He was IN him. “–the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” John 14:17
3. John met Him again while on the isle of Patmos. John was very old; assuming that he was at least 16 when he began his walk with Jesus, he had his vision in 90+ A.D. which means that he was around 80. At that time in history, 50% who lived past 16 died by the time they were 45. In a village of 165 people, there might be 1 person who was 80 or above. The funny thing is that our mortality rate is practically the same as it was back then even with modern medicine. God has, indeed, established man’s days to be numbered: “Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures;” Psalm 90:10.
John’s vision that LORD’s Day was something that encourages our hearts today. He began his recollection with an interesting greeting:
“I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.” Revelation 1:9
1. Suffering- John saw his share of it, although with an interesting twist. From history: “According to Tertullian (in The Prescription of Heretics) John was banished (presumably to Patmos) after being plunged into boiling oil in Rome and suffering nothing from it. It is said that all in the audience of Colosseum were converted to Christianity upon witnessing this miracle.” John on Patmos
2. Kingdom- We are family! He is preparing a place for us (John 14:1-4). The word, “place,” is a very specific word for a physical place. For us, it’s heaven. Jesus said that He wants us to see Him in His glory (17:24), the glory He had with the Father before the world began (John 17:5)–that would be heaven!
3. Patient endurance- Another person who knew all about suffering is Paul. Here’s what he had to say:
“For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience (patient endurance), and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.” Colossians 1:9-12
John goes on in Revelation 1:10-20 to give a description of Jesus in His PRESENT glory. One day, soon, we will see Him, too! What great motivation to spend time with Jesus in His Word and in the Spirit. Let’s be about the Father’s business today as we look forward to our forever tomorrow!