“I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ”
This is the first of three times John refers to himself as the human author of the Book of Revelation (cf. 21:2; 22:8).
both your brother and companion
John identifies himself as a “brother and companion” to the seven churches to whom he writes. “Companion” comes from two words: with and to partake. A companion is someone who partakes of the same thing as another.
John partakes in three things with his readers. He closely identifies himself with suffering Christians, with the kingdom and with the patience (tenacity) of Jesus Christ. John writes as a co-sufferer in these three areas with his readers.
First, John identifies himself as a “brother.” A brother is a person who comes from the same womb. In this case, the womb is spiritual birth. He is talking to those who have been born spiritually in Christ. There is a unique suffering that comes to those who claim Christ as their Savior.
in the tribulation
Secondly, John identifies himself as a “companion” in three categories. First, he is a companion in “tribulation.” “Tribulation” means to put under pressure. The Domitian reign (81-96 AD) put pressure on him. Domitian regarded Christianity as a threat to the Roman Empire. John says in effect, “I am a partner with you in your tribulation. Look at me, I am banished to this Isle of Patmos. I have it difficult, just like you.”
The second area where John was a “companion” is in the area of the “kingdom.” “I share the true kingdom with you. The kingdom of Rome cannot daunt us.” The “kingdom” is God’s plan for man beginning with salvation and ending in His glory. He had confidence that God had a plan for his suffering.
“He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love…” (Colossians 1:13).
and patience of Jesus Christ,
The third area where John was a “companion” was in “patience.” Our English word “patience” is a weak idea compared to the Greek idea. The Greek idea carries the ideas of tenacity. God gives those who walk by faith a bulldog-like tenacity of soul.
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
John knew how to be tenacious in his soul when it came to suffering. “Patience” means endurance. Since sin reigns unchecked, the Christian is in a war. Our tenacity of soul comes from our relationship to and our confidence in Jesus.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Patience comes from faith in God’s provision. Pressures cannot get to those who operate by faith.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
God’s Word was in John’s soul before persecution came. He could cope with pressure by applying principles of God’s Word to His experience.
Affliction, kingdom and patience are the best things to equip us to enter the kingdom.
Jesus is King over the church. He knows what it is going through. He is too wise to make a mistake and too good to do wrong. We can place confidence in Him because He is faithful to us.