“To be a Christian was against the law (in Smyrna); but persecution was not continuous. The Christians might be left in peace for a long time; but at any moment a governor might develop a fit of administrative energy, or the mob might call out for a search to find the Christians—and then the storm broke. The terror of being a Christian was the uncertainty”
(William Barclay, The Revelation of John, Vol. 1, “Smyrna: Under Trial”).
When we become a Christian, a Jesus follower, we mustremember that this means we must follow His footsteps no remember that this means we must follow His footsteps no matter where they lead us. It is unfortunate that some are taught that when they accept Jesus’ as their Savior they will never suffer again. The reality is, the way of Jesus, leads to pain, suffering and hardship. Jesus, at the cross, took on the greatest of all pains so that all have eternal life!
“But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me”
(2 Corinthians 12:9, NIV, emphasis added).
Paul tells us that God allows trials to afflict us in order to “perfect” His power within us. In the original Greek text this is the word teleō and it can be defined as:
“’to put into effect’ according to a plan and purpose”
(Theological dictionary of the New Testament).
When Paul used this word he wanted to let us know that Jesus has a plan for us. Even though these trials may seem impossible, hard and challenging, they are meant to help us become better versions of ourselves.
This week, as we continue our conversation and study of The Seven Churches, we will be looking at the trials and challenges that the Christians in Smyrna faced. May we learn lessons from their experiences that will help us grow through affliction. May we also remember that when we face trials Jesus is working on “perfecting” us through His power.
Grace and Peace,
– Pastor Geraldo