“Anyone who is willing to hear should listen to the Spirit and understand what the Spirit is saying to the churches. Whoever is victorious will not be hurt by the second death.” - Revelation 2:11
A willingness to suffer often proves the genuineness of love. The small group of Christians who loved the Lord and lived in Smyrna were suffering because they belonged to him. The risen Christ reminded them who he is. “I am the First and the Last,” he said to them. “I am the living one who died” (Revelation 1:17-18). That’s always a good thing to hear when you may be facing martyrdom!
Smyrna was widely known as the “crown” city because of its beautiful situation, nestled between the gully and the mountain peaks crowned with the most luxurious dwellings and government buildings. How appropriate of the Lord Jesus, then, to encourage the few frightened believers to be “faithful even when facing death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10).
It helps to know that the Savior knows about our troubles, doesn’t it? “I know about your suffering and your poverty,” he says (Revelation 2:9). We do not know if the Christians in Smyrna belonged to the lower ranks, or if their unselfish concern for the underprivileged had left them poor. Whatever the reason for their trials, Christ wanted them to know he saw their plight and was preparing a better place for them. What is more, he told them not to fear the journey to the better land, even though the way would lead through prison gates.
Because of Smyrna, suffering believers through the years have been helped to face the first death, by believing they will not be hurt by the second! After all, Jesus promised!
For Further Study: Revelation 2:8-11
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Women, Copyright ©2000 by Jill Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
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