Revelation 2:8-11 “When All Else Fails”

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The city of Smyrna was known widely as the “crown of Asia.”  Seated on top of a giant hill, boarding the sea, it’s fortifications looked like a crown from a distance; the city layout and lifestyle reflected this title quite readily as well.  They prided themselves on their opulence and on their loyalty to the Roman empire.

The letter to the church in Smyrna, by contrast, reveals a church that is under duress, experiencing pressure, persecution, and poverty.  Interestingly, though, the word “Smyrna” comes from the Hebrew word for Myrrh, a plant that is not so great looking on the outside. However, when pressed and crushed, it releases a wonderful scent and oil that is known for its healing properties.

Questions to take home:

  1. The United States is known for its worldly wealth and advancement.  Do you think that we, the Church, sometimes leans more the riches of our country than we do the riches of Christ?  How?
  2. Jesus’ words to the persecuted church are not ones that promise comfort, but instead promise victory.  How do you think that we sometimes trade “victory” for “comfort” in the midst of struggles in our lives?  Do you think we do this in church too?
  3. Ultimately, Jesus encouragement to the church of Smyrna is to be faithful.  What do you think this looks like for them? What pressure or persecution does our church face?  What does faithfulness look like for us?