Friday, 12 June 2015

A lesson from Smyrna

And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. – Revelation 2.8-10

The Smyrna example is a special one. They knew what it was like to suffer. This church has only good said about it. There is not ‘but’ or ‘however’ associated with them.

Jesus at first reminds them that they indeed serve a risen Saviour. When we see what they were going through this must have been a great encouragement. Things were tough, but Jesus was alive and knew about their struggles.

Jesus knew all about their works for Him
Jesus knew about their poverty (but tells them they are really rich)
Jesus knew about the blasphemy they had to put up with

And He says ‘don’t be afraid of all these things.’
The He says ‘you be faithful unto death’

The key here is the phrase ‘but you are rich.’ While we may sometimes feel like the struggles of this life are unbearable they are in actuality only temporary. Our earthly difficulties are nothing compared to the glories which will one day be revealed to us in heaven. So like our brothers and sisters in Smyrna by the grace of God may we not be afraid of the worst the world can throw us and may see stay faithful to Him.

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