Big Idea: Christ’s Spirit empowers churches to suffer like He did
Christians were experiencing tribulation and poverty due to being slandered by those Jesus described
as false Jews (not true believers).
Throughout the Old Testament, people were told to believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
God’s promises were never just about physical lineage or living in Israel. When God set Abraham apart in Genesis 12:3 He said, “I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
This disagreement caused Christians to experience tribulation and poverty in Smyrna, and so Jesus tried to comfort them in verses 10-11: “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for 10 days (cf. Daniel 1:12-15) you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.”
He invited the Smyrnaean Christians to allow His reality to be their reality, to rely on His provisions for this life and the next, and to trust that He is in control.