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To the Church at Smyrna

The church at Smyrna did not receive any rebukes, only commendation and counsel.
Jesus introduces himself to this church as the first and the last, the one who passed through death into life. Both of these titles are fitting in light of Smyrna’s difficult situation.  Jesus can speak to all of us from the standpoint of having been there and experienced the entire gamut of suffering, death, and resurrection.  This makes him a qualified leader to his people.
The commendation Jesus has for them pertains to their faithfulness in the midst of struggle.  The ethnic Jews are assaulting them with slander and yet they remain faithful to Christ.  This faithful perseverance in the midst of struggle brings pleasure to Christ because it is for him.
The counsel he gives them is to not fear.  Why?  They are about to be imprisoned and some will be put to death.  They need to be firmed up in courage, not fear.  Furthermore, they are counseled to be faithful unto death.  The temptation would be to withdraw from Christ’s plan and in treachery exercise non-trust.  No.  They need to be faithful.
This faithfulness will pay off with the crown of life.  This is what awaits them on the other side.  The second death, hell itself, will not hurt them for they will be under the protection of Christ.  These are the things that await them if they are faithful uno death.
These words of Jesus are good.  Are we in the midst of tribulation?  Persevere, he knows.  Are we experiencing uncertainty?  Yes.  He knows.  May we not fear and may we not resort to treachery in breaking trust with Jesus.  Let’s be faithful as we endure testing.  Coming out on the other end we will be tried as pure gold.  May we yield to his purposes for our good.

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