The contents of the Book of Revelation were revealed from Jesus to John while he was banished by the Roman emperor, Domitian, to a 10-mile wide, six-mile long island in the Aegean Sea called Patmos. Unlike his predecessor, Nero, Domitian focused primarily on the Christians living in Rome and wrought unprecedented, widespread persecution of Christians everywhere in the Roman Empire. In the opening chapters of Revelation, John is instructed to send letters to seven churches in Asia Minor and he refers to them as the seven golden lamp stands. Surely, this must have reminded John of the words Jesus said to his followers one day as they were all gathered on a hillside, when He gave the Sermon on the Mount. He said to His followers: “You are the salt of the earth, and you are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Don’t put your light under a bowl and hide it. Set it out for everybody to see. Let your light so shine that everybody would see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven.”
Jesus had something He wanted to say to each of these seven churches so they could continue to be His light in a dark world. However, these letters dictated by John were not just for the seven churches in Asia Minor in the first century. In fact, each of the letters ends with the same admonition: “Everyone who has an ear, let him hear what the spirit says to the churches.” In other words, the words of Jesus are still very much alive and relevant for us today. So in this summer series, Oasis will open up our inbox and discover what we have to learn from the successes and failures, triumphs and tragedies, highs and lows of these seven churches.