Jesus now addresses the church in Smyrna. This group doesn’t get a “but” behavior statement but a warning about what is about to happen to them.
He sees every tear we cry. He knows our heartaches and joys. “I know your tribulation and your poverty” (verse 9a). He knows what they were going through and He had endured the same while He walked this earth.
This group may have been poor when it comes to earthly money and possessions but Jesus said they were rich. They were rich in the spirit. They had access to the Father, who owns the cattle on a thousand hillsides. There is nothing on earth that He doesn’t have access to. He also owns the Heavenly wealth, which never tarnishes or declines in value. And He shares it with us, His children.
The church in Smyrna was faithful group. They were being persecuted for their faith. Even those claiming to be Jewish followers of Jesus were in fact Satan’s people trying to get their digs in. But things were about to get even harder.
“Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you in prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation” (verse 10a). I’m wondering if the “ten days” was like Daniel’s “seven weeks.” Was it literally ten days or was it longer than that? Also, the next part looks like those in prison weren’t going to be released except by death.
“Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (verse 10b). These believers had already been suffering under “tribulation” for a while, but they were being called to continue on to the very end. “Never lose hope. For your hope is not in this world but in Me.”
That is what He is calling each of us to do too. We may not be “suffering tribulation” or “enduring persecution” per se, but we are all facing challenges to our faith. Hold onto Him, no matter what comes! There is NOTHING this world can do to us or for us that can EVER compare to what He has for those who stand with Him for life, unto death. Even if they kill this body, they CAN’T kill the spirit within that is HIS. His “crown of life” is worth more than all the wealth in the world! AND it lasts for eternity.
They say, “You can’t take it with you when you die.” We, who are God’s children, don’t need to take anything with us because what He has for us is SO much better than anything we can even imagine. It’s worth all the struggle. It’s worth all the heartache. It’s even worth surrendering your life for. “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.” What an AMAZING promise!
Thank You Jesus for Your promises. Thank You also that I don’t have to wait until I finish this life to receive some of Your promises. Yes, I have struggles here, but You carry me through them. I can trust in You to ALWAYS be with me in whatever I face. I don’t walk alone; I walk beside You.
I KNOW that I have and will face trials in my life. You don’t exempt me from struggling just because I’m Your child Father God. Often that means I will have additional trials to deal with because of standing for You. It’s ALL worth it Father! YOU are worth it! Thank You for the promises at the end. I’m looking forward to seeing what I KNOW will BLOW ME AWAY!