Revelation 2:8-11 – Gods’ message to the church in Smyrna
I enjoyed reading Wiesebe’s thoughts on this passage this morning. The assembly at Smyrna were persecuted for their faith. Jesus word of comfort to them was “I know your tribulation and your poverty, but you are rich” (Rev 2:9)
According to Wiersbe the term poverty here has the idea of “abject poverty, possessing absolutely nothing.” These guys were persecuted for their faith, and had absolutely nothing of value in the world’s eyes. Yet God reminds them, “But you are rich!” 2 Peter 1:3 reminds us that we have everything we need to live pleasing to God in what we know is true about God. David said in Psalm 119:72 The law of your mouth is better to me then thousands of gold and silver pieces. With Christ we can have nothing of earthly value, but still be richer than the wealthiest man on earth.
God goes on to tell this church, (Rev 2:10) Don’t be afraid to suffer. In fact, I see a season of suffering that you are going to experience. I know the plans I have for you (Jer 29:11). And even though they involve suffering. Be faithful, endure to the end, and you will receive the victor’s crown!
Smyrna was a key participant in the Roman athletic games (kind of like our Olympics). So this symbolism would have been meaningful to them. You will endure the hardship of the race, the pain and suffering through the event, whether through death as a martyr or through faithful endurance, you will go home with the winners crown! . “The Lord reinforced the promise given by James 1:12 and assured them there is nothing to fear. Because they trusted Him, they were overcomers, victors in the race of faith (Heb 12:1-3)
Let us run with endurance, the race set before us, looking unto Jesus!