The Risen Lord
The Risen Lord said, “I know all the things you do. I have seen your hard work and your patient endurance. I know you don’t tolerate evil people.” Revelation 2:2
These words come from the first of the seven letters to the churches, and they were addressed to the church in Ephesus. Pergamum was the capital city of the province of Asia, but Ephesus was in every way the greatest city. It had the largest port in the area and many major roads converged on it. It was particularly famous for its religious significance. The city was home to the temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It was a vast structure, measuring 130 by 60 metres and with 120 columns. Ephesus was also a notorious centre for pagan superstition. In short, it wasn’t the easiest place to establish a church and the Christians were commended for their hard work and endurance. They could so easily have buckled in the face of the challenges, but they hadn’t.
The word from the risen Lord to the Ephesian church was that he knew exactly what they had been through. He knew how tough it had been and commended them for the way in which they had endured. Much of the Christian life is about “hanging in there”. This might not sound exciting or the way we would want it to be, but the Lord calls us to be faithful. I have so often seen people faithfully serving God in small, struggling churches, in villages, on housing estates and in city centres; places where it has been incredibly hard work just to keep the doors of the church open. I have seen people working in children’s and youth work where there has been little thanks – and often much discouragement – but they have hung in there through good times and bad. I am sure we have all seen people caring for others in really tough circumstances, maintaining their loving care through the years with grace and incredible patience. Perhaps that has been you. The risen Lord wants you to know that he has seen exactly what you have been doing and he wants to commend you.
Think about your own church. In what way do you think that the Lord would commend it?
Lord Jesus, help me to stand strongly for you whatever the challenges and pressures and however great the temptation to give up. Amen