* This chapter contains the first four of seven statements by Jesus, similar in form, and addressed to the Church in several locations of the day. It is introduced in the latter part of chapter 1 with an image of John's vision of Jesus.
* The message to each of the locations of the Church begins with a statement of something important about who Jesus is - each seems to be a snippet out of the larger description in chapter 1 - and ends with something important that he will do for those who follow him always - that is, for "the one who conquers."
* The statement to each location of the Church between the beginning about who Jesus is and the end about what he will do for the one who conquers seems to be in some way related to those two things, though I have a hard time being certain of that.
* Going specifically to the word to the Church at Ephesus... Jesus is identified here as the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven lampstands. We were just told in chapter 1 that the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. Thus the angels of the churches belong to Jesus and he walks among the churches. He is not far away.
* Jesus praises the Church at Ephesus for its works, its endurance, and its commitment to right thinking. But he chastises it for its abandoned love. The Church should not only strive and endure in works, and not only think correctly, but passionately love as well. The promise is of the tree of life.
* For the Church at Smyrna, Jesus is identified as the one who died and rose again. Jesus knows the death that this Church is being threatened with, and reminds them of the life that is his and that he will give.
* For the Church at Pergamum, Jesus is identified as the one who has the sharp two edged sword. They have held fast to Jesus and have not denied the faith even at great provocation. But they have sinned in some way related to Balaam that I don't understand. And some hold to the Nicolaitan teaching. These are to repent and Jesus will give them gifts including manna (sustenance?) and a white stone with a name (identity?).
* For the Church at Thyatira, Jesus is identified as the one maybe who is the ruler?? He praises their works, love, faith, service, and endurance. He chastises them for tolerating one he calls Jezebel, whom he will judge along with those who are joined to her. But he asks nothing further of those who are not joined to her. To the one who conquers, he offers authority over the nations.
There is a great deal here I do not understand. But I do see how many places Jesus says his people are doing something well, but that he wants them to deal with something else they are currently ignoring.
I also see that whatever the trauma his people are facing, he is already one who is prepared to be greater than that trauma and that he offers us, if we remain in him, the same that overcomes the specific trauma in the end.
Lord, there is clearly much here I do not understand or see well. Whatever I need to see, I ask that you'll give me to see, now or some future time. I ask you to show me the places I'm walking past in my pursuit of other things that are of you as I want those to be remade in your image as well.
I also lift up to you the pressures, the temptation to think of this world as the center of things that faces me daily. I ask that you will put into me a spirit that sees you as the center and you as being already the solution to my need and as offering me your characteristics that I may become like you.
Most specifically, I thank you, Lord, that you are, bit by bit, giving me the passion of your love. Please continue that, and build more of it into my heart. I can't build that myself.
Posted on Wed, December 2, 2015
by Brian Landers