This post is part of a devotional series based on our 2019 Bible Reading Calendar.
Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me. When I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was one like the Son of Man… “The mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the seven angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.” ~ Revelation 1:12-13, 20
Revelation is a hard book. There are many symbols and different prophecies that have left well-educated men and women stumped for centuries. Yet, despite the debate of the minutia, Revelation is also an easy book.
John received a message from Jesus to write to seven churches. The main point of the letter: The world is filled with many distractions and hardships that seek to lead people away from Jesus. Yet, Jesus has already won and will bring his people into victory through whatever trials and sufferings. If we are faithful to him, in the end we get the joys of eternity, ruling under Jesus over a new heavens and new earth. Therefore, worship, follow, and obey King Jesus.
That core message is easy to understand, despite the details of different symbols.
And it is a message that we need. The Bible speaks a lot about persevering in our faith and remaining faithful to Jesus. The reason is that we can get easily distracted or led astray if we don’t stay focused.
John’s letter opens with a beautiful reminder to help us stay focused and fight spiritual drift: Jesus dwells among his churches.
And in his image, John saw Jesus in power and might. Revelation 1:14-16 describes Jesus in this way:
The hair of his head was white as wool, white as snow–and his eyes like a fiery flame. his feet were like fine bronze as it is fired in a furnace, and his voice like the sound of cascading waters. He had seven stars in his right hand; a sharp double-edged sword came from his mouth, and his face was shining like the sun at full strength.
Each of the seven churches in Revelation was different. Some were small, some were big; some had relative comfort at the moment, some suffered great persecution. And Jesus walked among each, calling them to faithfulness.
This is the encouragement for us: It doesn’t matter if our church is big or small. It doesn’t matter if we are rural or urban. It doesn’t matter if the congregation is older or filled with young families and children. It doesn’t matter if the church’s finances are strong or a struggle. What does matter is that Jesus dwells among his churches.
And that should encourage us to remain faithful, no matter our situation.
Scripture quotations taken from the Christian Standard Bible.