Revelation 3:14-22: A continuous challenge
“14 Write to Laodicea, to the Angel of the church. God’s Yes, the Faithful and Accurate Witness, the First of God’s creation, says:15-17 “I know you inside and out, and find little to my liking. You’re not cold, you’re not hot—far better to be either cold or hot! You’re stale. You’re stagnant. You make me want to vomit. You brag, ‘I’m rich, I’ve got it made, I need nothing from anyone,’ oblivious that in fact you’re a pitiful, blind beggar, threadbare and homeless.18 “Here’s what I want you to do: Buy your gold from me, gold that’s been through the refiner’s fire. Then you’ll be rich. Buy your clothes from me, clothes designed in Heaven. You’ve gone around half-naked long enough. And buy medicine for your eyes from me so you can see, really see.19 “The people I love, I call to account—prod and correct and guide so that they’ll live at their best. Up on your feet, then! About face! Run after God!20-21 “Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you. Conquerors will sit alongside me at the head table, just as I, having conquered, took the place of honor at the side of my Father. That’s my gift to the conquerors!22 “Are your ears awake? Listen. Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches.” ” NIV
In church life, verse 20 has been repeatedly used as an evangelistic text, to encourage people to ‘invite Jesus into your life.’ But it was not originally given for that purpose. These words were written to a church that was closing the Lord Jesus out of HIS church. Here is a major challenge we continually face, i.e. to not repeat this pattern.
‘The echoes of stories in the gospels suggests that the one knocking on the door is the master of the house, returning at an unexpected hour (as in the warning to Sardis in 3.3), while the one who should open the door is the servant who has stayed awake. It is, then, Jesus’ house in the first place; our job is simply to welcome him home. And the echoes of the ancient scriptures suggest a different but related image. This is the bridegroom, knocking on the door of the house where his beloved lies asleep (Song of Solomon 5.2). A glance at Revelation 21.2 suggests that this may have been in mind as well…No early Christian could have heard those words without thinking of the regular meal, the bread-breaking, at which Jesus would come powerfully and personally and give himself to his people. Such meals anticipate the final messianic banquet (see 19.9). They are advance ‘comings’ of the one who will one day come fully and forever.’ Tom Wright: ‘Revelation for everyone’, p.40.
As I read this letter again I am struck by the thought that although it was sent to a local church, one person (‘’anyone’’) may be a difference-maker (20). Certainly, that individual can have a rich experience with Christ himself (or herself), even though the rest of the people in the church may be on ‘low heat’. It is through this intimacy with Jesus that a person will find the strength to ‘overcome’ (21) and so reign with Christ.
Before moving on in this book of ‘Revelation’ let’s note that today there is no trace of that Laodicean church. Why? Because these people did not repent of their sins.
When the Lord speaks to us there is a lot at stake. Ignoring Him is not the healthy option.