8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;
9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
The message which Christ has for Smyrna is the shortest among the messages. Smyrna and Philadelphia are the only two churches among the seven which have received commendation and not condemnation from the Lord. The church at Smyrna was facing severe persecution. The Lord noted that He knew her tribulation, poverty, and persecution [v9]. He counseled them, “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer…” [v10].
The Lord truly knows the difficult and trying circumstances we go through in life. Afflictions are part and parcel of our Christian calling. We have to learn to obey God and to walk in His Will even if it leads us to the testing of our faith. The safest path to walk in life is the Will of God. Though the path is tough, the Lord will deliver us. There are times where He may take away the trials; times where He may take us through those trials; but there are also times where He will take us home to be with Him, so that we may be freed from our trials.
Polycarp, a disciple of John, was the bishop of the church at Smyrna. He was called to renounce Christ in order to be set free. Polycarp declared “86 years have I served Him, and He as done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour?” With that testimony, he was then burnt at the stake. Our fear for God will help us overcome our fear in persecution. Jesus reminds us with these words: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” [Matthew 10:28]. At the same time, the Lord also requires this of us: “… be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life” [v10]. We are all called to be faithful to God even if it means death unto us. Polycarp has shown us a good example. My friends, what about you? Will you be willing to give up all in this life in order to walk in obedience to the will of God for you? Will your faith stand the test of fire? Will the Lord find you faithful to Him unto the very end?
“Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried: and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”
Combined B-P Conference (2019) Devotional by Rev Ho Chee Lai