5 October 2007

Revelation 3:14-22

"For you say, 'I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing'. You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked".(v.17)


The book of Revelation belongs to apocalyptic literature; writing which unveils or reveals truths lying behind immediate appearances and events. John the Seer received this revelation towards the end of the first century and shared his visions with seven of the churches in the Roman province of Asia. Seven being the number of completeness, John was in fact addressing all the churches. 

The message to Laodicea is the final letter of the seven and is a warning against complacency. If the book wasn't written at a time of actual persecution, the threat of it certainly hangs over everything. The last thing you want to be during a time of trial is lukewarm or complacent. 

Apparently, the church in Laodicea is affluent and comfortable: "For you say, 'I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing'". The 'truth' behind the appearance is that they are "wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked". The call is to repentance - to turn and see things as they really are. 

Like the writings of the prophets, apocalyptic literature can comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable. Whatever is required, Jesus stands at the door, knocking; waiting to be invited in, to share in our journeys of discovery from appearances to reality, from falsehood to truth. 

Jesus will not force himself into our lives; he waits patiently to be invited in, to sit and eat, to walk with us as companion and friend.

To Ponder

How realistic is your own self-image - and that of the church, community or culture of which you are a part? Think of one way you could seek another perspective, and try to listen.

Do you feel you are 'lukewarm' about some contemporary issue that should make you feel passionate? Find out more about it, let yourself feel involved, and take an action.

Bible notes author

The Revd Graham Jones

Graham Jones is a Methodist presbyter serving as a member of the Discipleship and Ministries Learning Network in the Yorkshire Plus region of the Methodist Church, with particular responsibility for ministry development. Graham is committed to developing ministry in its broadest sense, enabling both lay and ordained to live out their vocations, and to share in God's mission in the most fulfilling and effective ways.