Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Revelation 2:8-11

Revelation 2:8-11
And write to the messenger of the assembly in Smyrna.  The first and the last – who became dead and lived – says these things.  “I have known of your great pressure and poverty – but you are rich – and the blasphemy out of the ones who say of themselves that they are Jewish and are nothing but a synagogue of Satan.  Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer.  Look!  The devil is about to throw you into an imprisonment in order that you should be tried.  And you will have great pressure for ten days.  Become faithful until death and I will give to you the crown of life.  The ones who have an ear hear what the spirit says to the assemblies.  The one who conquers shall never be wronged out of the second death.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

The identity of Jesus in this passage is chosen for a very specific reason.  John reminds the people of Smyrna that Jesus died and now He lives.  In other words, death cannot contain Jesus.  Death is nothing to be feared.  Granted, it is not exactly something to be sought, either.  But it is not something to be feared.  If it comes our way, God can conquer death.  If the world comes against us to destroy us, God can still draw us with Him into eternal life, just as He did with Jesus.

How does this message strike you today?  Would you be willing to die?  Is death something that you fear and actively seek to avoid?

Second Thought:

As with yesterday, after Jesus gives the church His identity, He then praises them.  They are under great persecution.  They are being blasphemed against.  They are about to suffer more.  They are enduring poverty.  They even are enduring hypocrites who claim to be faithful to God yet have more in common with Satan!  Yet, Jesus reminds them that they are rich.  They have the promise of eternal life with God.  They have all the benefits of a strong, healthy, and mature faith life.

Where can you self-evaluate your faith life as mature?  How can a mature faith help with things like persecution, poverty, rejection, and hypocrisy?

Third Thought:

In the passage to Smyrna, you will notice that we have no complaint against them.  Their faith is rock solid.  However, their life is not easy.  As we said, they are about to endure even more persecution.  Yet even if they are about to endure more persecution – even into death – they have the promise of eternal life.  No wonder Jesus reminds them that He died and rose again into new life!  Their life is about to get tough, but Jesus reminds them that if they remain faithful even into death that they will receive a crown of life.  They who conquer the world and remain faithful to God will never be cheated out of eternal life by the second death.  That’s the challenge.  Remain faithful, and we will know eternal life, not eternal death.

How does this challenge reside with you?  Are you willing to endure persecution and even death to know life eternal with God?

Passage for Tomorrow: Revelation 2:12-17
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