A Crown of Life-Revelation 2:8-11

Revelation 2:8-11 “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. 9 I know your afflictions and your poverty — yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.”
Apocalisse 2:8-11 «All’angelo della chiesa di Smirne scrivi: queste cose dice il primo e l’ultimo, che fu morto e tornò in vita: 9 “Io conosco la tua tribolazione, la tua povertà (tuttavia sei ricco) e le calunnie lanciate da quelli che dicono di essere Giudei e non lo sono, ma sono una sinagoga di Satana. 10 Non temere quello che avrai da soffrire; ecco, il diavolo sta per cacciare alcuni di voi in prigione, per mettervi alla prova, e avrete una tribolazione per dieci giorni. Sii fedele fino alla morte e io ti darò la corona della vita.11 Chi ha orecchi ascolti ciò che lo Spirito dice alle chiese. Chi vince non sarà colpito dalla morte seconda.”
 
     This is the second letter in the series to these churches in Asia Minor (Turkey). Smyrna (the word comes from the word “myrrh” which is a perfume) is a seaport like Ephesus and still active today. The opening statement clearly states that the sermon is coming from Jesus (“the First and Last, who died and came to life again”). The believers of Smyrna related well to the life of Jesus because they too were facing severe persecution.
     Notice how Jesus ministers to them. First, He says “I know your affliction and your poverty”. The word “poverty” means extreme poverty as opposed to being simply poor. But Jesus adds “you are rich!” James also reminds us that those who are poor in the eyes of this world are rich in faith (James 2:5).
     Then Jesus points to some of the causes of persecution: slander (v. 9). The source of slander came from pagan Gentiles and Jewish opposition which Jesus judged with strong language. The problem of human suffering many times perplexes Christians. It seems right that suffering can be expected for the ungodly but why should the godly suffer? Jesus gives a reason for us to remember here: it is to see whether we really do love God no matter the cost.
     Connected with these are the encouraging words: “Do not be afraid.” Normally in the Scriptures when we read about persecution, we like to read of deliverance that is on its way. But in this case, deliverance from persecution is either delayed or in some cases, faced with the possibility of martyrdom.
    Finally, Jesus encourages them with the reward to those who overcome: “the crown of life.” A crown of life is one of the seven crowns promised to the overcoming believer. We need to ask ourselves this question: Is there a crown of life for us?
Pray with me: Lord, I know that serving You comes with a price that includes various degrees of oppression from people and the devil. Help me to overcome the test knowing that my reward is a crown that no one can remove.


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