“Stuck on the island of Patmos on the Lord’s day.” That’s how John describes himself moments before he encountered the risen Lord. Patmos was a kind of Alcatraz for the Romans – a place where prisoners go and are never heard from again – but as John stands on the shores, contemplating his grim future, he turns around to see “the Living One…(who) was dead and behold, is alive forever more,” (Rev. 1:17-18). What John discovers is that God has a plan for, not only him, but the whole world. There is a new day coming. God has a plan for the ages.
Most of us have too high, too ambitious an opinion of ourselves – “even if all the others fall away . . . I never will” (Matt. 26:33) – which makes failure doubly hard for us. But the living Christ has a very different view of us, both before and after we fail, so he is never surprised and he is never finished. In fact, he still prays for us. For all who have blown it, at one time or another, the resurrection offers a “new birth into a living hope” that we can begin again.