The Church of Smyrna – by Pastor Matt Shirley

Song: When the Fight Calls

Artist: Young & Free

8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life. 9 “‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 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 ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 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.’

Revelation 2:8-11

Jesus, the first and the last, the one who died and came to life. The One who knows the beginning from the end. The One who died – who absorbed all that sin and evil could hurl at a man. And the One who came to life – who overcame evil with good, death with life.


He knows their context: Smyrna. It was a city that had been destroyed and rebuilt, a city once dead now come to life. It was a prestigious and wealthy city, chosen ‘first’ among cities to house a temple for Emperor Tiberius.

He knows their present struggle. Poor in the midst of wealth. Persecuted by religious and pagan enemies alike. He knows their future struggle, which for some means martyrdom. But, as the One who died and came to life, he also knows their future glory – the crown of life.

It’s meant to be an encouraging word to a group of believers facing incredibly challenging circumstances. We may not know exactly what He knows. But we know that He knows. And that knowledge calms fears, fosters courage, and builds enduring faith.

Take a moment to rest in His knowledge today. Know that He knows. The One who knows the end from the beginning, who who knows life after death – He knows your context, your present and future challenges, and the life that comes through your faith in Him.

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