Jesus is the first and the last. He was dead but is now alive. He is our God and we praise Him. We listen to His words, for they are pure and righteous. We heed His commands, for they lead to eternal life. Even does His Words in the Bible pierce our hearts and lead us closer to Him. It was Jesus our Lord, that spoke “unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; 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. 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. 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.” (Revelation 2:8-11) As you can see, Jesus speaks to that church as the first and the last, which was dead and is alive. And where did we hear that from Him once before in the Old Testament? Well, it is all over the place. For example, we can look at Isaiah 41 to find this answer. It reads, “who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the Lord, the first, and with the last; I am he.” (Isaiah 41:4) So Jesus declared that He is the first and the last, while also telling us something very important and that is that He is God.
It was in the book of Revelation that Jesus, our God, gave instructions to many different churches. One being, the church of Smyrna, which we just read. Here, we learn that Jesus knows the lives of every Christian. He can see the works we are doing, the trials we face, and our financial problems. But we are not poor, but rich in the Lord. In this, He helps us understand that there are many wolves in sheep’s clothing, even among the Jews. These people who say they are Jewish and are not are living for Satan and not God. It was then that God helped us understand that in life we shall suffer, even many will be put into prisons and killed by the hands of the enemy. But we are told not to fear what people can do to us, for if we have Jesus in our lives, then He casts out all fear. Even in death, do these courageous Christians get a crown of life. In this year alone, I have heard of Muslims killing Christians. Some of these Christians have died in churches that they have burnt down and killed by gunshot wounds. Other women have been kidnapped and forced to become Muslim, but many of them have not given in and stayed strong in their witness for Jesus. Therefore, they have been killed also. In some places like China, even declaring the name of Jesus on the streets can get you put in prison and killed. And so we have what Jesus, our Lord, and God, said become a reality before our eyes. We are living in the times of these churches, so pay close attention to what He says.
Let us pray:
Oh Lord, I pray that we will all draw near unto You as You draw near unto us. You are so good to us God and we have so much to give thanks for. Thank You for coming into our lives. We are so much better off than the sinful life we once lived before You. What I once had does not hold a candle to what You have done in my life and others around me. Thank You for shining Your light in my life, while scattering the darkness therein. I am changed because of Your great love for me. I love You, Jesus. You complete me, God. I am one and this brings me happiness. I am able to do greater things because You are with me now. You are my deliverer, for You have set me free from the captives. Satan’s power no longer has control over me. Thank You! He has no more free access to my life, for I am built up in Your armor. Wow! What a great God I have found in You. And You are different than all the other false gods, for You are alive. As You have declared, You are the first and the last. You died on the cross for the sins of the world but rose the third day. If we would just look to You in faith, in this short time in life, our crown of glory would be available in heaven. I am so grateful that You have called me out of the billions of people on this earth to repentance. Because you convicted me of my sins, I am cleansed by Your blood. Truly, You are the lamb of God, who came to set the captives free. You have given us the greatest gift of all, which is salvation through forgiveness and mercy for our souls. I give You glory and praise. What I have is in You. Use me for Your kingdom. I will go where You call me. Amen.