Christ gives this command in each of the 7 letters. The purpose of the command is to emphasise the message in each letter. It is not enough if people just read these letters: they must listen and obey.
The command uses special meanings of the word ‘hear’. The simplest meaning of the word ‘hear’ is as when we hear a sound. That sound probably has no effect on our lives. We hear it and, immediately, we forget it. It had no importance to us.
When these letters arrived at the churches, someone would read them aloud. All the members would hear the message. However, if nobody did anything, the message would have no more effect than a sound without a meaning.
That would be terrible, because God’s word is important. Christ intended those messages to change people’s lives. Many of them needed urgently to change how they were living.
So Christ used a special meaning of the word ‘hear’. To hear means to listen. Therefore, it also means to give attention. The people needed to give careful attention to Christ’s message to them. They needed to recognise the wrong things that they were doing. They needed to understand what Christ wanted them to do.
In addition, to hear means to respect. Therefore, it also means to obey. The people were not listening to these messages in order to hear sound. They were listening to show respect to Christ, who had sent the message. If they really respected him, they should obey him. They should make the changes in their lives that he had told them to make.
Next part: Christ’s letter to Sardis (Revelation 3:1)
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© 2016, Keith Simons.