BackDoor Bible Series
John the Gladiator
To help us understand that our real struggle is against the spiritual forces of evil.
Rev. 12; Eph. 6:12-18
During an interview with John as an aged man on Patmos, a number of demons attack him with lies. At the onslaught of the attack, John is transformed from an old man into a powerful Gladiator who fights off the demons while explaining the value of spiritual armor from Ephesians chapter 6.
Interview with Aged John
Host: Tonight we are going to visit with the man who wrote the book of Revelation. His name was John and when he wrote it he was very old. John was living on the Roman prison island named Patmos. Their God gave John visions of heaven and the future which he wrote down in the book of Revelation. Tonight we are going to see if he can explain what spiritual warfare is. Lets open our Bibles to Revelation Chapter 12 and turn on the time machine.
(Host drops finger in Rev 12:1 and time machine starts up)
John: (on entry) Whoa... where am I? Is this another vision? Boy, this is the strangest place I've seen yet. (Looking at host) Who are you and where am I?
Host: Hello, John. Welcome to the future and probably not too long before those last visions you just had. This is the Wednesday Night Live show and the year is 2000 AD. We've brought you here through a time machine to talk with you. Would you visit with us for a while?
John: Wednesday Night Live? What kinda name is that? And those sure are some funny duds you're wearing.
Host: Come over here and sit down, John. Visit with us for a while. (Host seats John and himself and smiles) How about that! We are sitting here talking with the Apostle John, the disciple whom Jesus loved dearly. How are you, John? You look very well.
John: I guess I'm O.K. I'm kind of worn out though 'cause God has been showing me some really awesome visions.
Host: Now, you're sort of in prison right now. Isn't that so?
John: Yea, I'm on the Isle of Patmos. I'm a prisoner of Rome for following Jesus, the Christ. I wouldn't bow down to the Emperor and worship him. Nope, I wouldn't do it. No way, Jose!
Host: What's it like on Patmos, John?
John: Well, I'll tell you. It's hot and dry and really isolated - lonely, if you know what I mean.
Host: It's not some beautiful tropical island, you mean?
John: You got that right, brother.
Host: What do you do there anyway? Break rocks? Work in the kitchen?
John: Well, no nothing like that. God has fixed it so that they pretty much leave me alone. I meditate a lot, write, and pray for the other brothers who follow Christ. Stuff like that.
Host: So how long have you been on Patmos anyway?
John: Boy, I sure couldn't tell you. You kind of lose track of time out there. Must be 3 or 4 years now at least.
Host: If you don't mind me asking, how old are you, John?
John: Well, best I can recall, I'm about 83 this year.
Host: You've really had a phenomenal life. It must have been great to walk and talk with Jesus when He was here on earth.
John: Well, Mr. Host, do you know that He's still alive and here with us even now. You can walk and talk with Him anytime you want. The Holy Spirit can make you spiritually in tune with God, and then you will see things from His perspective.
Host: Funny you should mention seeing things spiritually. We were just studying God's Word here... look this is something Paul wrote. You know the Apostle Paul don't you?
John: The Terminator from Tarsus? Of course I know that old roust-about. What a preacher! God really touched him and gave him his assignment to the Gentiles - no questions asked.
Host: Well, he wrote these words in one of his letters to the Ephesians:
"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Eph. 6:12 (NIV)
Can you give us some insight as to what he might be talking about?
John: You know, oddly enough I think I can. You see God has really blessed me lately with some keen insight as to how the spiritual world and physical world interact. One vision in particular has been weighing heavy on my heart. Can I share it with you?
(John stands up, thinking, rubbing chin, etc. putting together story in his mind).
Do you all still celebrate Christmas, Jesus Birthday?
Host: Yup, we sure do.
John: Well great, then let me tell you another version of the Christmas story... (John paraphrases Revelation 12.)
See around the time that Jesus was born, Satan tried to get Jesus and devour Him right after He was born so He couldn't save His children. But God protected Jesus on earth so Satan could not get Him. (Remember how Herod tried to kill all the two-year-old boys but Jesus' parents took Jesus to Egypt after being warned by God) Anyway, so Satan got mad and started a war in heaven. He had a bunch of angels who followed him and they started fighting against God and His angels. Now Satan's forces were not strong enough and they lost the battle in heaven and Satan was thrown down to earth. Now this made him even madder and he pursued Jesus and the nation of Israel. But God still protected Jesus, and so Satan turned and went off to make war against all people who follow Him.
(At the end of the story, John is standing near the time machine entrance)
And I'm telling you when I really saw the birth of our Lord Jesus from the perspective of the heavenly battle that occurred then, I ..............
(Lights suddenly flash and then go out. Aged John is replaced by a large armor covered Solider who continues with the conversation)
........... really understood what was happening.
Host: Hey! Who are you? What happened to John?
John: What do you mean who am I? Nothing happened to me, I'm still here talking to you. Do you always lose your memory when the lights go out?
Host: You don't look like John, I mean, you're not old anymore and you're wearing armor. You look like a gladiator.
(Begin Gladiator Monologue)
Oh, that's why you don't recognize me. (John looks around as if searching for something) There must be some demons nearby and God must be letting you see what things look like from a spiritual perspective. I guess even in your time there are demons about that want to destroy me. You can't see them unless you know what to look for and -- whoa ooooooooo .... See, there they are.
(Demons Enter and begin circling John, hissing and mumbling. Use low voices so as not to drown out John's monologue.. demons continue to circle, hiss and speak lies throughout the following monologue. Give demons a list of lies like," Jesus is not really God" or, "You don't need God, He's not even real" .. make up your own here. You will need enough to cover 5-8 minutes. )
I figured there must be demons about. (John addresses audience totally ignoring the demons). You see folks, demons are the angels that followed Satan and were thrown down to earth when Satan and his angels lost the war in heaven. You can't really see them but you can learn to see what they do. They mostly attack us by putting thoughts into our head. Yep, they can do that. (pause) So to defend yourself, you have to have some special armor as well as a weapon.
The first piece of armor we need is salvation. Salvation is like a helmet because demons are not allowed to enter your head and control you when you have been indwelled by the Holy Spirit. We are saved when we believe Jesus is God's only son and accept Him into our heart. (pause to let audience consider)
Now, even if you're saved, demons can still lie to you, so you need more armor. So the second piece of armor you need is Truth. You have to know the truth so demons can't lie to you. Truth is like a belt that holds all your other armor together. (pause to let audience consider)
The next piece of armor you need is obedience to God. Another word for this is Righteousness. Obeying God is like this chest armor. Obeying God protects you from bad things that can happen when you break God's rules. That's what we call sin. Satan and the demons want you to disobey God just like they did.
(pause .. demos get louder for a few seconds then return to quieter voices)
Well, as you can see these are really pesky demons - (John try's to shoo them away but they only continue their circling) So, we are going to need some more armor. The next piece we need is something to protect us from violence and that's Peacefulness. Being at peace is like having these foot protectors on so we will be ready to walk away from arguments and fights. Demons want us to fight with each other but God wants us to love each other. (pause to let audience consider)
The last piece of armor you need is called Faith. Faith means trusting Jesus to help you in everything you do. Faith is like this shield. With it you can stop all the attacks the demons try to make and especially the ones that try to convince you that you are not important to God. (pause to let audience consider)
Sword of the Spirit (Word of God)
Now, I have shown you all my armor and showed you how it protects me, but in order to fight off demons and make them leave us, we need something more than armor. We need a weapon.
(John removes his sword - and waves it at the demons, they dodge it and continue circling)
I have this sword here but it's not very big and the demons can easily avoid it, but God has given us another type of sword and its the most powerful one in the universe. Can you guess what it is? (pause for answers)
Yes, it's the Word of God. (John turns and picks up a Bible from the Host's desk and lifts it up toward the demons)
And when you use it against demons as you can see, they will disappear.
(demons scream, cover their faces and run away disappearing into the audience).
So, can you remember the pieces of armor you need to fight the battle against Satan and his demons?
(John removes helmet and leaves character)
All acting aside, it's important to realize that Satan is real and his forces are right now here on this earth. Satan and his demons do not live in hell. They live here on this world. You can't see them, but they are very real. Do not be surprised when there are attacks being planned against you! (John points to audience)
I challenge you to start thinking about things differently. When you see things happening around you that tend to lead you away from Jesus, lead you away from the church or lead you into some kind of sin, consider a spiritual perspective. You may be fighting a battle against demons. If you find yourself under attack, pray for help, get in the Word and make sure your armor is on.
(This character is not sent back in time. It tends to be more fun for the audience to interact with John, the Gladiator, after the presentation.)
* * *