Revelations 3: The Jesus of the Churches

2171172330103330085S500x500Q85Promises.  We all get a lot of them.  Promises are only as good as the one making the promise.  Making promises isn’t the same as wishful thinking.  To give a good promise you must have the ability to deliver on that promise.  In each of the letters to the seven churches of Asia Minor in Revelation 2-3, Jesus makes a promise to bring something — good or bad — to someone because of what they have done or not done.  In every case, Jesus makes it clear he possesses what is necessary to fulfill his promise.

Each of the seven letters starts with a description of the ascended, victorious Christ.  Then at some point in each letter Jesus promises something to either those who have persisted in wickedness or faithfulness.  John has done a masterful job of connecting promises with aspects of Jesus’ description in each letter so that the point is driven home that Jesus possesses the ability to deliver on what he has said. (Click here for a PDF of this chart.)

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We don’t just serve a God of wishful thinking.  Jesus doesn’t just hope he can help us.  We aren’t just crossing our fingers and wishing on a star.  Our God makes promises, and He possesses all that is necessary to fulfill those promises.

What did you notice in this chapter?

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Categories: Revelation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Revelations 3: The Jesus of the Churches

  1. Pat

    I like your chart. It gave me the idea to compare the Message with NIV.

    Descriptions of Jesus from the Message:
    Ephesus:
    The One with Seven Stars in his right-fist grip, striding through the golden seven-lights’ circle, speaks:
    Smyrna:
    The Beginning and Ending, the First and Final One, The Once Dead and Then Come Alive, speaks:
    Pergamum:
    The One with the sharp-biting sword draws from the sheath of his mouth—out come the sword words:
    Thyatira:
    God’s Son, eyes pouring fire-blaze, standing on feet of furnace-fired bronze, says this:
    Sardis:
    The One holding the Seven Spirits of God in one hand, a firm grip on the Seven Stars with the other, speaks:
    Philadelphia:
    The Holy, the True—David’s key in his hand, opening doors no one can lock, locking doors no one can open—speaks:
    Laodicea:
    God’s Yes, the Faithful and Accurate Witness, the First of God’s creation, says:

    On comparison with the descriptions in NIV, I found the Message said the same thing (with one exception), but in a more vibrant way. The one exception is the last one in which MSG says “the First of God’s creation.” To me that doesn’t say the same as NIV’s “the Ruler of God’s creation.”

    How I wish we knew more about these churches and how they responded to this letter from John.

    • There are actually a lot of studies on these churches and this section of Revelation. About two years ago I picked up a short book on the topic by John Stott entitled “What Christ Thinks of the Church.” It was pretty good, and answers some of those sorts of questions.

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