March 10th, 2022
Our passage finds John receiving the second of seven letters from Jesus to the New Testament Church. It is the letter to the persecuted Church in Smyrna where Christians were suffering for refusing to worship Caesar. Jesus began the letter commending the Church for the good fruits of their works and ministry, then acknowledges their tribulations and suffering for believing and standing for the Gospel truth. He knows their “poverty” (v.9), a Greek word that also means “beggary.” The Christians in Smyrna were reduced to begging in the streets for their very existence. They were ostracized from family and friends for their beliefs and unable to get work because they were rejected by the trade unions. They had nothing. But Jesus saw their suffering and He cared for them
The lie of the devil says God does not care about you or your suffering. But the truth of God’s Word says He does care, and our Lord will never leave you nor forsake you.
In the letter where we find our verse for today, Jesus moves from praising them for their good works to showing them a remedy for their situation. He says, “Don’t be afraid, and continue to be faithful.” Fear not and be faithful is the exhortation. It is the same remedy to the suffering church in Smyrna as it is to all Christians through the ages even to today. Fear not and be faithful.
After rescuing Lot and fearing death and no one to lead the family, God encouraged Abraham, “Fear not, I am your shield, and your exceedingly great reward” (Genesis 15:1). Paul exhorted Christians in 1 Corinthians 4:2, “it is required of God’s stewards to be found faithful.” The 10 days of suffering in our verse of the day refers to something bad coming, but there will also be an end to it. The remedy remains the same: fear not and be faithful. It is this remedy that leads to the fulfillment of our Lord’s promise. He will give the faithful the “reward of life,” the crown of life, the promise of heaven.
So beloved in Christ, whatever trial or suffering you face, press on with the good works you have been called to do (Philippians 3:14). Keep fighting the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12). Fear not and know that if God be for you, who can be against you (Romans 8:31). Know that in spite of trials and tribulations, persecution, pandemics, and uncertainty, you are just passing through on your way to glory (1 Chronicles 29:15).
You are passing through to an inheritance that is incorruptible and undefiled. It will never fade away. Instead, it is reserved in heaven for the faithful. Your inheritance is guarded by the power of God through faith for a salvation which will be revealed in the last days (1 Peter 1:4-5). And when you get there, may you hear the words of our Lord say, “Well done good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).
By Pastor David Massie, Bible League International staff, California, U.S.
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