John was exiled on the island of Patmos when he received his vision. One minute he was on this small, virtually uninhabitable island, and the next thing he knew he was transported into the very presence of God. And not only would he see God the Father face to face, he would be reunited with his friend and Savior, Jesus. But this would be a remarkably different Jesus than the one he remembered. His last glimpse of Jesus had been as He ascended back up to heaven. But standing before him in the heavenly throne room was a drastically different man than he once knew. And the shock left John flat on his face, worshiping His Lord and Savior. But Jesus calmed his fears and prepared him for the job for which he had been chosen: To write down all that Jesus had to say to the seven churches. John was to act as the Savior’s amanuensis or personal secretary. And one of the first things Jesus wanted to drive home to John was the reality of His resurrected state. He described Himself as the first and the last, the living one. He had died, but He was alive and He held the keys of Death and Hades. This speaks of Jesus’ authority and His dominion over death and the grave because of the sacrifice of His own life and His resurrection by the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus, as the living Lord, has some sobering words to share with the seven churches. And we will soon see that what He has to say is for more than their ears alone. Repeatedly, Jesus will say, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” His messages are global, yet specific. These seven churches needed to hear the commendations and condemnations of Jesus, but so do we. Revelation 1:9-20 sets the stage for what is to come. Jesus, the one who is worthy to open the seals is also the resurrected, all-powerful Shepherd of the church, the head of the Body of Christ, who is about to comfort and convict His bride, preparing them to finish what they have begun and to prepare for His eventual return for them before the end comes.