Smyrna was about 40 miles (60 kilometres) north of Ephesus. Although the Bible tells us much about the church at Ephesus, it says little about the other churches near there. We do not know their early history, or who established the churches. However, there was now a church in each major town and city in that region.
Christís message to the church at Smyrna was especially serious. The Christians there would suffer very much because of the cruelty of their enemies. They must not be afraid even of death, because some of them would die for their belief in Christ.
Christ begins the letter with a description of himself that would give confidence to Smyrnaís Christians. He is always God; he is the same yesterday, today and always (Hebrews 13:8). After their troubles have ended, he will still be God. Nothing can disturb his rule.
Christ knows about their troubles and he sympathises with them. He reminds them that he, too, suffered death. They should not be afraid of death, because he has defeated the power of death. He rose to life; and they too will live again after death (1 Corinthians chapter 15).
God brings life to dead people (2 Corinthians 1:9). Therefore, the person who believes God, can trust him in every situation. Even in the most desperate situations, Christians can be strong because they depend not on themselves, but on God.
Next part: Smyrna: true wealth (Revelation 2:9)
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© 2016, Keith Simons.