Offenbarung 3


Offenbarung 3:1

An den Engel der Gemeinde in Sardes schreibe: Er, der die sieben Geister Gottes und die sieben Sterne hat, sagt dies: „Ich kenne deine Taten, dass du einen Namen hast, dass du lebst, aber du bist tot.

(a) Der Engel; sehen Eintrag for Rev. 2:1.

(b) Die sieben Geister Gottes beziehen sich auf den Heiligen Geist; sehen Eintrag for Rev. 1:4.

(c) Die sieben Sterne. Jesus is portrayed as holding the seven stars in his letters to Sardis and Ephesus (Rev. 2:1). It’s a similar introduction for similar cities. Both Sardis and Ephesus were, at different times, the center of gravity for western Anatolia. Sardis was the past; Ephesus was the future. Sardis had been the capital; Ephesus would become the capital. Like the Ephesians, the proud Sardians considered themselves at the center of everything. So Jesus reveals himself as in the center of the seven stars, meaning the angels or leaders of the churches, and the seven churches led by those stars (Rev. 1:20).

(d) Ich kenne deine Taten; sehen Eintrag for Rev. 2:19.

(e) Sie haben einen Namen. Im Gegensatz zu der namenlosen Kirche weiter unten in Philadelphia war die sardische Kirche hoch angesehen. Es hatte den Ruf einer blühenden Gemeinschaft. Aber in den Augen des Herrn war dieser Ruf fehl am Platz. Die Sarder waren alle Stil und keine Substanz.

(f) Du bist angeblich am Leben, aber tot. Jesus is talking about religious unbelievers who are disconnected from the One called Life (John 14:6). The Sardians had a religious reputation, but they remained dead in their trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). They impressed some with their religious activity, and they had an appearance of church life. But Jesus wasn’t fooled. “You are dead.”

Einige sagen, die Sardianer seien apathische Gläubige gewesen, deren Glaube im Schwinden begriffen sei. „Sie waren eine sterbende Kirche.“ Aber die Sardianer waren tot, nicht im Sterben. Das Wort, das Jesus benutzte, um sie zu beschreiben, bedeutet wörtlich Leiche. Eine Leiche ist keine apathische oder faule Person; eine Leiche ist tot.

There were a few believers in this church, and Jesus will get to them in a few verses. But most of the Sardians remained dead in their sins. They had not received the Spirit that gives life (Rom. 8:11). That’s the bad news. The good news is that Jesus raises the dead.


Offenbarung 3:2

Erwache und stärke die Übriggebliebenen, die im Begriff waren zu sterben; denn Ich habe deine Taten nicht vollendet gefunden vor Meinem Gott.

(a) zu wach auf und stärke das, was bleibt is to repent before it’s too late. Jesus was not speaking to lethargic Christians who need to perk up for the Lord. He’s speaking to those who need to “awake and arise from the dead” (Eph. 5:14).

Das Wort für stärken bedeutet, sich entschlossen zu wenden. Es bedeutet, pass auf! Aufstehen! Dreh dich um! Es ist ein Aufruf zu sofortigem und eindeutigem Handeln. Es ist, als würden die Sarder auf den Gleisen schlafen und Jesus schreit: „Wach auf, bevor es zu spät ist!“

(b) Dabei zu sterben. The Sardians are going to die, maybe not this year or next, but one day, hence the urgent need to take action.

(c) Ich habe deine Taten nicht vollständig gefunden. Die Sarder hatten ihr Vertrauen nicht auf Jesus gesetzt.

Einige verwenden diesen Vers, um Gläubige mit unheiligen Forderungen nach religiöser Aktivität zu belasten. „Du musst für Jesus auftreten, damit er deine Taten nicht als unvollständig empfindet. Sie müssen mehr tun, mehr lernen und mehr beten, um Ihre Gemeinschaft mit dem Heiligen Geist aufrechtzuerhalten.“ Aber Jesus spricht zu toten Sündern, nicht zu lebenden Gläubigen. Es sind die Selbstgerechten – diejenigen, die versuchen, sich einen Namen zu machen – deren Taten unvollständig sind.

Allem Anschein nach waren die Sardianer sehr beschäftigt. Sie hatten sich einen Ruf für ihre guten Taten erworben. Aber diejenigen, die versuchen, Gottes Gunst zu verdienen, können niemals Erfolg haben. Sie mögen für den Herrn schuften, aber ihr Bestes wird niemals genug sein. Ihre Taten werden immer unvollständig sein.

Weiterlesen: „Sind Ihre Taten unvollständig?


Offenbarung 3:3

Denken Sie also daran, was Sie empfangen und gehört haben; und bewahre es und bereue. Wenn du also nicht aufwachst, komme ich wie ein Dieb, und du wirst nicht wissen, zu welcher Stunde ich zu dir komme.

(a) Sie hatten empfangen und gehört the gospel of Jesus Christ. Since Sardis had a substantial Jewish population, we can assume that the gospel came to this town via the synagogue. The Sardian Jews heard the good news, and some of them repented (Rev. 3:4). But many did not. Hence the Lord exhorts them to “remember what you heard (the gospel) and repent (change your unbelieving minds).”

(b) Behalte es und bereue es. Das Evangelium zu halten oder daran festzuhalten bedeutet, es zu glauben oder zu beachten.

The gospel reveals the free gift of God’s righteousness (Rom. 1:17). One sign that a person hasn’t received the gospel is they haven’t received the righteousness that comes from God. They are still trying to establish their own. This is what was happening in Sardis. The Jews had heard about Jesus, but they had not grasped what Christ had done. They were boasting in their reputation when they could have been boasting in the Lord.

(c) Bereuen. To repent means to change your mind. In context, it means changing your mind about Christ and the goodness of God (Rom. 2:4). Jesus is essentially repeating something he has said before: “Repent and believe the good news” (Mark 1:15). “Change your unbelieving mind and believe the glad tidings of God’s grace and forgiveness.” See Eintrag für Reue.

(d) zu Wach auf ist, zur Besinnung zu kommen und Buße zu tun. Sehen Eintrag for Rev. 3:2.

(e) Ich werde wie ein Dieb kommen. Jesus is talking about the glorious day of the Lord, when he shall return unexpectedly, like a thief in the night (1 Th. 5:2).

Die ursprüngliche Zitadelle von Sardes lag auf einem steilen Plateau. Als Cyrus von Persien ihre Festung belagerte, machten sich die Sardianer nicht die Mühe, die Klippen zu beobachten. Niemand kann die Böschung erklimmen, dachten sie. Persische Truppen, angeführt von einem Soldaten namens Hyroiades, kletterten jedoch im Dunkeln hinauf, öffneten das Tor und nahmen die Stadt ein. Damit endete die Herrschaft von König Krösus.

Wie der reiche Mann im Gleichnis kannte König Krösus die Stunde seines Todes nicht. Er ging ins Bett und dachte, er sei sicher und geborgen, aber als er aufwachte, war alles verloren. Cyrus war wie ein Dieb in der Nacht in die Stadt eingedrungen und hatte alles genommen.

Erstaunlicherweise lernten die Sarder nicht aus ihrem Fehler, denn sie wiederholten ihn 300 Jahre später. Während die Armeen von Antiochus dem Großen draußen warteten, erklomm ein flinker Soldat namens Lagoras die Klippe und Sardes fiel erneut.

Einmal deine Stadt zu verlieren, weil du nicht aufgepasst hast, ist schon schlimm genug, aber sie zweimal zu verlieren, ist wirklich etwas Besonderes. Sardes war berüchtigt dafür, nicht zuzusehen. Wenn Jesus also sagt: „Ihr müsst aufwachen und aufpassen, dass ich nicht wie ein Dieb komme“, spricht er ihre Sprache.

(f) Du wirst nicht wissen, zu welcher Stunde ich zu dir komme. No one knows the day or hour of the Son’s return (Matt. 24:36).


Offenbarung 3:4

Aber Sie haben ein paar Leute in Sardes, die ihre Kleider nicht beschmutzt haben; und sie werden mit mir in Weiß wandeln, denn sie sind würdig.

(a) Die wenigen, die ihre Kleider nicht beschmutzt hatten waren die Gläubigen, die mit Christus und seiner Gerechtigkeit bekleidet waren.

Once again, we find two groups of people within the same church: the many and the few, the soiled and the unsoiled. The many were those who were confident of their righteousness, while the few were those who had submitted to the Lord’s righteousness. The many were soiled by the stain of their self-righteousness (Is. 64:6), while the few were clean because they washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7:14).

Im Gegensatz zu dem, was einige gelehrt haben, hat dies nichts mit moralischer Reinheit zu tun. Tatsächlich waren die vielen, die beschmutzt waren, wahrscheinlich genauso moralisch wie die wenigen, die es nicht waren. Sie waren gute Leute, die gute Werke taten und einen guten Namen hatten. Aber sie hatten nicht den Heiligen Geist. Umgekehrt waren die wenigen Unbefleckten nicht unbedingt moralischer als die anderen. Das einzige, was sie anders machte, war Jesus, der den Unterschied macht. Es ist Jesus, der uns gewaschen, weiß und würdig macht.

(b) Weiße Kleidungsstücke; sehen Eintrag for Rev. 3:5.

(c) Geh mit mir. Mit dem Herrn zu wandeln bedeutet, das Leben in ehelicher Gemeinschaft zu teilen Koinonia. Oft übersetzt als Gemeinschaft, Koinonia bedeutet wörtlich Teilhabe am überfließenden und freudvollen Leben Gottes, das in Christus Jesus ist (vgl Eintrag for 1 John 1:3).

In Sardes gab es zwei Arten von Menschen: die Lebenden und die Toten. Nur die Lebenden können mit dem Herrn wandeln, weil nur die Lebenden wandeln. Mit dem Herrn zu wandeln bedeutet, in inniger Gemeinschaft mit Jesus zu leben. Es geht jeden Tag im Glauben auf den neuen Weg des Geistes.

(d) Würdig. Those clothed with Christ and his righteousness are worthy to walk with the Lord. We are not made worthy through our performance and purity; we are made worthy by Jesus. In his eyes, you were worth dying for. You are the pearl of great price. You might say we are all worthy, for Jesus died for all of us. But those who dismiss Christ count themselves unworthy (Acts 13:46). They will not walk with Christ because they choose not to. They are unworthy because they scorn the love that says they are.

Würdig bedeutet verdient oder angemessen, und was ist eine angemessenere Antwort auf die Gnade Gottes, als sie zu empfangen? Diejenigen, die Christi Liebe empfangen und seine gerechten Gewänder tragen, sind würdig, mit ihm zu wandeln.


Offenbarung 3:5

Wer überwindet, wird also mit weißen Gewändern bekleidet; und ich werde seinen Namen nicht aus dem Buch des Lebens auslöschen, und ich werde seinen Namen vor meinem Vater und vor seinen Engeln bekennen.

(a) Er, der überwindet; sehen Eintrag for Rev. 2:7.

(b) Weiße Kleidungsstücke. The white and unsoiled garments represent Christ’s righteousness (Is. 61:10), but elsewhere in scripture they represent the righteous acts of the saints (Rev. 19:8). Which is it? Do the white garments symbolize his righteousness or our deeds? It’s both. The acts of the saints are righteous because the saints are righteous, and the saints are righteous because Jesus makes them so (Rom. 5:17).

The white garments also prefigure the dazzling white garments of glory that will clothe the saints when Jesus returns. When we are clothed with immortality we shall shine like the sun in the kingdom of our Father (Matt. 13:43).

(c) Ich werde nicht löschen. Jesus verspricht, niemals den Namen des Gläubigen aus dem Buch des Lebens zu streichen. Diese beruhigende Gewissheit wird jedoch manchmal in eine Drohung verdreht. „Wenn du nicht bis zum Ende überwindest, wird Jesus dich vielleicht auslöschen.“ Entspannen. Jesus sagt, es wird nicht passieren. „Ich werde deinen Namen nicht auslöschen.“ Da das Wort not im griechischen Original betont wird, können wir es lesen als: „Ich werde niemals, niemals, unter keinen Umständen, deinen Namen aus dem Buch des Lebens streichen.“ Es ist ein klares Versprechen. Es sind gute Nachrichten, keine schlechten Nachrichten.

Even so, some have trouble believing it. They doubt what the Lord said to the Sardians because of what he said to Moses: “Whoever has sinned against me, I will blot him out of my book” (Ex. 32:33). (See also Deu. 9:14, 29:20.) That is bad news indeed, for all of us have sinned and fallen short (Rom. 3:23, 5:12). None of us deserves to be in his book.

Hier ist der Unterschied zwischen dem alten und dem neuen Bund: Unter Moses war niemand gut genug für das Buch des Lebens; Unter Jesus kann kein Gläubiger ausgelöscht werden. Christi Verheißung ist eine gute Nachricht, keine schlechte. Während diejenigen, die unter dem alten Gesetzesbund lebten, ständig besorgt waren, dass Gott ihre Namen aus dem Buch des Lebens auslöschen würde, ist dies keine Sorge, die der Christ teilen muss. Unter dem neuen Gnadenbund ist Ihre Zukunft so sicher wie Gottes felsenfeste Verheißungen.

Weiterlesen: „Wird mein Name aus dem Buch des Lebens ausgelöscht?

(d) Das Buch des Lebens ist das himmlische Verzeichnis derer, die das ewige Leben ererben. Es ist ein Register der Bürger des Reiches Gottes.

The Book of Life appears frequently in the Bible. It is mentioned by Jesus (here in the letter to Sardis and in Luke 10:20), Moses (Ex. 32:32), David (Ps. 69:28), Paul (Php. 4:3, Heb. 12:23) and several times by John (Rev. 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27). The book is also hinted at by the prophets Isaiah (Is. 4:3), Daniel (Dan. 12:1), and Ezekiel (Ezek. 13:9).

(e) Ich werde seinen Namen bekennen. Die stolzen Sarder waren um ihren Namen und ihr Ansehen besorgt. Jesus enthüllte die Sinnlosigkeit ihres Stolzes, bevor er ihnen ein besseres Angebot machte. „Du willst einen Namen, der auf der Erde bekannt ist? Ich werde deinen Namen in den Himmeln verkünden!“

Any name the Sardians had made for themselves would soon be forgotten, but their name in Jesus’ book would last forever. Their name had been hailed by men, but their new name would be proclaimed by the Lord himself (Matt. 10:32).


Offenbarung 3:6

Wer Ohren hat, der höre, was der Geist den Gemeinden sagt.

Wer ein Ohr hat; sehen Eintrag for Rev. 2:7.


Offenbarung 3:7

Und dem Engel der Gemeinde in Philadelphia schreibe: Er, der heilig ist, der wahrhaftig ist, der den Schlüssel Davids hat, der öffnet, und niemand wird schließen, und der schließt, und niemand öffnet, der sagt dies:

(a) Der Engel; sehen Eintrag for Rev. 2:1.

(b) Der Name von der Engel der Gemeinde zu Philadelphia is unknown but it might have been the highly regarded Demetrius of 3 John 1:12. (Demetrius is identified as the first bishop of Philadelphia in Clement’s Apostolische Konstitutionen.) Wenn ja, wurde er wahrscheinlich von Johannes ordiniert.

(c) Philadelphia bedeutet Bruderliebe. Die Stadt wurde nach ihrem Gründer Attalos II. Philadelphos (220–138 v. Chr.), dem König von Pergamon, benannt. Attalus war der jüngere Bruder und Erbe von Eumenes II. Attalus erhielt den Spitznamen Philadelphus aufgrund der Liebe und Loyalität, die er seinem älteren Bruder entgegenbrachte.

(d) Jesus ist heilig und wahr. So wie Jesus nicht nur Herr ist, sondern das Herr, er ist das Heilig und das True. Jesus refers to himself in this manner because he is addressing a Jewish church. In the Old Testament, God is often referred to as the Holy One of Israel (Ps. 71:22, 78:41, 89:18) and the God of truth (Ps. 31:5, Is. 65:16). By taking the name Holy and True, Jesus is revealing himself in a way that has special relevance to the Jews. He is saying, “I am the Holy and True revelation of the Holy and True God.”

When Jesus began his earthly ministry, the Jews were not sure who he was. But some recognized that he was the promised Messiah. They said, “You are the Holy One of God” (John 6:69). Jesus is reaffirming that claim here. “I am the Holy One from God that you have been waiting for.”

(e) Der Schlüssel Davids is another Old Testament reference that would have been familiar to Jewish listeners. This key, which unlocked the door of King Hezekiah’s palace, was taken from a steward called Shebna and laid on the shoulder of a faithful servant named Eliakim (Is. 22:15–22). Eliakim decided who got to see the king and who didn’t. “What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open” (Is. 22:22). Similarly, Jesus has the keys to the kingdom of God, and no one can come to the Father except through him (John 14:6).

Yet Jesus is no mere gatekeeper, for the key upon the shoulder also symbolizes authority (Is. 9:6). Jesus is the Son of David who sits on the Throne of David and bears the Key of David (Luke 1:32). All the riches and resources of heaven are at his disposal.

The transfer of the key from unfaithful Shebna to Eliakim mirrors Israel’s fall from grace. Shebna, whose name means vigor, lost the key to Eliakim, whose name means resurrected of God. Shebna represents the religious Jews who served in the vigor of their own strength but who shut the door to the kingdom of heaven. “You yourselves do not enter,” said Jesus to the scribes and Pharisees. “Nor will you let those enter who are trying to” (Matt. 23:13). In contrast, Eliakim represents the resurrected Messiah who opens doors and invites all to come in.

In Philadelphia machten es religiöse Juden aus der Synagoge den Menschen schwer, sich Gott zuzuwenden. Sie hinderten das Evangelium und widersetzten sich den Christen. Jesus wollte, dass die Gemeinde weiß, dass er den Schlüssel hat und dass niemand eine Tür schließen kann, die er öffnet.


Offenbarung 3:8

Ich kenne deine Taten. Siehe, ich habe eine offene Tür vor dich gestellt, die niemand schließen kann, weil du ein wenig Macht hast und mein Wort gehalten und meinen Namen nicht verleugnet hast.

(a) Ich kenne deine Taten; sehen Eintrag for Rev. 2:19.

(b) Eine offene Tür is an opportunity to preach the gospel (1 Cor. 16:9, 2 Cor. 2:12). An open door is what you have when people respond to the gospel and come to Jesus.

Der Herr-mit-dem-Schlüssel öffnet Türen für sein Evangelium, und oft tut er dies an den unerwartetsten Orten. Philadelphia, eine Stadt voller Erdbeben und feindseliger Juden, hätte auf unserer Liste der Orte, an denen wir evangelisieren können, nicht ganz oben gestanden. Doch diese Stadt war reif für das Evangelium. Es war voller niedrig hängender Früchte. In diesem Brief prophezeit Jesus, dass einige der religiösen Juden, die sich der Kirche widersetzen, gerettet werden.

(c) Wenig Kraft. A church with little power is a small or weak church. The Philadelphians lacked the resources of their Laodicean neighbors, and they didn’t have the reputation of the Sardians. Like David, the shepherd boy, they were of little account in the eyes of man. But weakness is no barrier to God. If anything, it’s an advantage because God chooses the weak things of the world to shame the strong (1 Cor. 1:27).

Ein Gott, der die Bühne mit niemandem teilt, scheint Freude daran zu haben, die am wenigsten Qualifizierten und die Unwahrscheinlichsten auszuwählen. Als er einen Mann brauchte, der Israel gegen die Midianiter führen sollte, entschied er sich für Gideon mit dem Hühnerherzen. Als er einen Verkünder für das Evangelium der Gnade brauchte, wählte er den gesetzestreuen Saulus. Und als er einen Vater vieler Nationen brauchte, wählte er den grauhaarigen Abram. In der Ökonomie der Gnade scheinen die Schwachen und Unqualifizierten die innere Spur zu haben. Weiterlesen: „Gute Nachrichten für kleine Gemeinden

(d) Sie haben mein Wort gehalten. Die Philadelphianer glaubten Jesus und nahmen ihn beim Wort. Sie waren gläubige Gläubige, die davon überzeugt waren, dass der Herr gut und vertrauenswürdig ist. Dies ist der einzige Hinweis auf ihre Belobigung. Sonst wird nichts aufgezeichnet. Die Philadelphianer glaubten einfach Jesus, und das machte den Unterschied.

(e) Du hast meinen Namen nicht verleugnet. Die Philadelphianer hatten eine Art Test bestanden. Sie waren aufgefordert worden, auf den Namen des Herrn zu verzichten, vielleicht unter Androhung der Ausweisung aus der Synagoge, aber sie hatten sich geweigert.

The Ephesians endured for the sake of his name (Rev. 2:3); the Pergamenes held fast to his name (Rev. 2:13); and the Philadelphians did not deny his name (Rev. 3:8). The common element in all three churches was opposition: false apostles in Ephesus, Roman hostility in Pergamum, and religious oppression in Philadelphia.


Offenbarung 3:9

Siehe, ich werde diejenigen aus der Synagoge Satans veranlassen, die sagen, dass sie Juden sind und es nicht sind, aber lügen – ich werde sie kommen lassen und sich zu deinen Füßen niederbeugen und sie wissen lassen, dass ich dich geliebt habe.

(a) Die Synagoge Satans. When Jesus refers to the synagogue of Satan, he is not talking about Jews in general, of which there were some in the church. He’s talking about religious Jews who despised the Jewish Christians as traitors and enemies of God. These fanatics thought nothing of flogging Christians with whips (2 Cor. 11:24). In the name of their religion they would incite the Romans to harass and persecute the followers of Jesus (e.g., Acts 17:5–8). See also the Eintrag for Rev. 2:9.

(b) Die Juden, die keine Juden sind sind jene religiösen Juden, die Jesus und seine Gemeinde verfolgten.

(c) Die Juden, die lügen sind Religionshasser im Verleumdungsgeschäft.

Am Ende des ersten Jahrhunderts lebten die Juden seit 300 Jahren in Philadelphia. Sie waren eine etablierte und einflussreiche Gemeinschaft in der Stadt. Im Gegensatz dazu war die Gemeinde von Philadelphia neu und klein. Alle Beweise deuten darauf hin, dass die große und mächtige Synagoge auf der kleinen Kirche herumhackte. Die Christen predigten das Evangelium des Königreichs, aber diejenigen, die hereinkamen, wurden von den „Juden, die lügen“, daran gehindert. Sie haben über das Evangelium gelogen. „Du musst das Gesetz halten, um für Gott annehmbar zu werden.“ Und sie logen über diejenigen, die es predigten. „Diese Ketzer schicken Menschen in die Hölle.“

Es war hart für die kleine Kirche. Ihre Feinde waren organisiert, gut ausgestattet und hochmotiviert. Sie wussten, wie man das System bedient. Es muss Zeiten gegeben haben, in denen die Heiligen sich fühlten, als würden sie von unwiderstehlichen Kräften zum Erliegen gebracht. Sie brauchten Ermutigung, und die gab ihnen Jesus. „Ich habe dir eine offene Tür gegeben, die niemand schließen kann.“ Was für ein beruhigendes Wort vom Herrn-mit-einem-Schlüssel.

(d) Ich werde sie kommen lassen und sich verbeugen. Die feindseligen Juden werden erkennen, dass die Mitglieder der Kirche Gottes Volk sind. In der Stadt der Nächstenliebe wird Jesus den Juden zeigen, wer seine wahren Brüder sind.

This is some prophecy. For hundreds of years, the Jews were mistreated by Gentile nations. They had been besieged, enslaved, mocked, and murdered. Throughout this dark time, they had been encouraged by the thought that one day vindication would come (Is. 60:14). Eventually the tables would turn and the scales of justice would balance. The oppressors of the Jews would finally recognize them as God’s people and pay homage. They would say, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you” (Zech. 8:23). But Jesus upends the old prophecy by saying die Juden wird kommen und sich vor der Kirche verbeugen. Entgegen aller Erwartung werden sie diejenigen sein, die ihren Fehler zugeben und erklären: „Gott ist mit euch.“ Es ist eine verblüffende Umkehrung.

(e) Lass sie wissen, dass ich dich geliebt habe. Jesus wird diese Juden ins Königreich hinein lieben.


Offenbarung 3:10

Weil du das Wort Meiner Beharrlichkeit gehalten hast, werde Ich dich auch vor der Stunde der Prüfung bewahren, jener Stunde, die über die ganze Welt kommen wird, um die zu prüfen, die auf der Erde wohnen.

(a) Das Wort meiner Beharrlichkeit ist die gute Nachricht, dass Jesus durchgehalten und die Welt überwunden hat. Es ist die freudige Offenbarung, dass Sie nichts beweisen müssen, weil Jesus alles getan hat.

To keep his word (Rev. 3:8) or keep his deeds (Rev. 2:26) or keep his faith (Rev. 2:13) or keep the word of his perseverance (Rev. 3:10) is to believe in Jesus and his finished work. It’s guarding the truth, continuing in the faith, and staying settled on the rock. It is refusing to be tempted into the dead works of religion and unbelief.

Wie die Galater wurden die Philadelphianer unter Druck gesetzt, ein anderes Evangelium anzunehmen, eines, das die rituelle Einhaltung des Gesetzes betonte. Aber anders als die Galater hörten die Philadelphianer nicht zu. Sie blieben Christus treu und weigerten sich, sich von einem Sklavenjoch belasten zu lassen.

(b) Ich werde dich vor der Stunde der Prüfung bewahren. Einige verdrehen die schönen Worte unseres Erlösers in einen christlichen Fitnesstest. Sie sagen, dass man ausharren und durchhalten muss, um gerettet zu werden. Sie müssen Christi Gebote halten und unter Druck eine aufrechte und edle Haltung bewahren. Wenn Sie nicht durchhalten, riskieren Sie Strafe, sogar Verdammnis. Sprechen Sie darüber, einem neuen Bundesversprechen einen alten Bund zu verleihen. Wir werden nicht vor der kommenden Prüfung bewahrt, weil wir ausharren; wir werden bewahrt, weil Christus ausgehalten hat.

(c) Die Stunde der Prüfung kommt über die ganze Welt ist der Jüngste Tag, ein Tag der Erschütterung.

Zusammen mit Sardes und zehn anderen Städten wurde Philadelphia bei dem großen lydischen Erdbeben im Jahr 17 n. Chr. Schwer beschädigt. Obwohl Sardis am meisten unter diesem Beben litt, erlebte Philadelphia mehrere Jahre lang nervenaufreibende Nachbeben. Die Stadt war „immer Erdbeben ausgesetzt“, sagte Strabo, der Geograph des ersten Jahrhunderts.

To someone raised in the earthquake-prone region of Lydia, the hour of testing would evoke anxious memories of earthquakes and houses falling down. When Jesus says such an hour is coming on the whole world, they might imagine a global shaking, and they would not be far wrong (Heb. 12:26–27).

When Jesus returns, everything will be tested. Those things that are opposed to Christ will be shaken, but the believer who has been tested and approved in Christ will stand firm. Thus the hour of testing or judgment (Rev. 14:7) is for the world, not the church. It’s for those who dwell upon the earth, rather than the citizens of an unshakeable kingdom.


Offenbarung 3:11

Ich komme schnell; halte fest, was du hast, damit niemand deine Krone nimmt.

(a) Kommt schnell. Some translations say “coming soon.” However, Jesus never said he was coming soon. How could he (Matt. 24:36)? Rather, Jesus said he would come quickly. “When my Father gives the word, I will come swiftly and without delay. Further reading: “Kommt Jesus bald zurück?

(b) Festhalten zu Jesu. Die Philadelphianer werden oft als die beste der sieben Kirchen angesehen, während die Thyatiraner typischerweise als die schlechtesten abgetan werden, doch Jesus bittet beide Kirchen, nur eines zu tun: an ihm festzuhalten. Das ist bedeutsam: Was auch immer Sie konfrontiert sind, ob Sie mit Problemen draußen oder drinnen konfrontiert sind, Jesus ist Ihre Antwort. Er ist Ihre Hoffnung, Ihre Hilfe und Ihre führende Hand. Siehe auch die Eintrag for Rev. 2:25.

(c) Niemand wird deine Krone nehmen was Ihr Erbe oder Ihre Ernte bedeutet.

Some worry that if we don’t endure and hold fast we will lose our crown of life (Rev. 2:10), but that can’t happen. Just as we don’t merit salvation through our good deeds, we don’t lose it by our bad. But there is another kind of crown that can be lost and that crown is people (1 Th. 2:19). The Thessalonians were Paul’s crown and glory, and it’s this sort of crown that Jesus is describing here.

Die Bibel ist voll von Geschichten von Menschen, denen ihre Krone oder ihr Erbe von einem anderen weggenommen wurde: Jakob nahm Esaus Platz ein, David nahm Sauls Platz ein, Eljakim nahm Schebnas Platz ein und die Heiden nahmen den Platz der Juden ein. Hier besteht die Gefahr, dass die Philadelphianer zu dieser Liste derjenigen hinzugefügt werden, die ihre Krone verloren haben.

Der Herr hatte ihnen eine offene Tür gegeben, aber sie sahen sich heftigem Widerstand seitens der Synagoge Satans gegenüber. Wenn die Gemeinde zum Schweigen gedrängt würde, würden die Menschen die gute Nachricht von Jesus nicht hören und die Gelegenheit, Seelen zu gewinnen, würde ihnen durch die Finger gleiten. Daher die Ermutigung des Herrn: „Halte fest, was du hast (vertraue weiterhin auf Jesus), damit niemand deine Krone nimmt (diejenigen, die dein Erbe sind).“


Offenbarung 3:12

Wer überwindet, den werde Ich zu einer Säule im Tempel Meines Gottes machen, und er wird ihn nicht mehr verlassen; und ich werde auf ihn schreiben den Namen Meines Gottes und den Namen der Stadt Meines Gottes, des neuen Jerusalems, das von Meinem Gott aus dem Himmel herabkommt, und Meinen neuen Namen.

(a) Er, der überwindet; sehen Eintrag for Rev. 2:7.

(b) Fangen. Wir sind schwach und neigen zum Fallen, aber Jesus macht uns stark wie Säulen.

Es gibt die Wahrnehmung, dass nur einflussreiche Christen Säulen in der Kirche sind, aber in Christus sind wir alle Säulen. Das ist alles zur Ehre des Herrn. Wir stehen durch Gnade; wir halten durch Gnade fest; wir ertragen durch Gnade. Jeder einzelne von uns ist ein Monument der Gnade Gottes.

Weiterlesen: „Wer sind die Säulen in der Kirche?

(c) Der Tempel Gottes bezieht sich auf den Leib der Gläubigen, das Haus des Glaubens.

In the Gospels Jesus said he would raise a temple and build a church (Matt. 16:18, John 2:19), and he does that by turning people into pillars. Once upon a time, the presence of God inhabited a manmade temple, but now the dwelling place of the Lord is his church (Eph. 2:21–22). “Do you not know that you are the temple of God?” (1 Cor. 3:16).

(d) Geh nicht mehr raus. Jesus verspricht Frieden und Sicherheit für diejenigen, die auf ihn vertrauen.

Philadelphia war berüchtigt für seine häufigen Beben und Nachbeben. Wenn die Gebäude zu wackeln begannen, rannten die Philadelphianer ins Freie. Das Zittern war so häufig, dass das Laufen fast zu einer Lebensweise wurde. Als die Erschütterungen endeten, kehrten die Philadelphianer zurück und fanden ihre Häuser zerbrochen und beschädigt vor. Wenn Jesus sagt: „Du wirst nicht mehr hinausgehen“, sagt er: „Ich bringe deiner Angst ein Ende.“ Es ist ein beruhigendes Wort für gestresste Menschen.

Jesus verspricht nicht, das Zittern zu beenden, das unser Leben erschüttert, aber er bietet uns sein felsenfestes Wort an, um uns zu helfen, durchzuhalten. „Ich werde dich zu einer Säule im Tempel meines Gottes machen.“ Die Ungläubigen sind ruhelos, aber diejenigen, die auf dem Felsen von Golgatha geerdet sind, haben Frieden in Zeiten des Umbruchs. Ihre Welt mag erzittern und zusammenbrechen, aber sie stehen fest auf dem Wort des Herrn.

(e) Der Name meines Gottes. In the old covenant the priests put the name of God on the children of Israel by blessing them (Num. 6:24–27). When Jesus says he will write God’s name on us, he’s marking us for blessing. As a child of God, you are stamped highly favored.

(f) Der Name der Stadt meines Gottes. According to the prophets, the name of the New Jerusalem was to be Jehovah-shammah, meaning “the Lord is there” (Eze. 48:35). Ancient cities were named after distant emperors, but the Holy City, which is the church, is the Lord’s dwelling place. He is there. He is not someplace else. This name conveys a sense of family because “Jerusalem above is our mother” (Gal. 4:26). You are a not a slave of empire, but a free child of Jerusalem, and Christ dwells in you.

(g) Die Stadt Gottes is a common Biblical metaphor for describing the corporate body of Christ (Heb. 11:10, 12:22, 13:14, Rev. 21:2). See Eintrag for 2 Cor. 6:16.

(h) Ich werde meinen neuen Namen auf ihn schreiben. Mit dem Namen Jesus gekennzeichnet zu sein bedeutet, dass Sie dem Herrn gehören. Du trägst seinen Geist als Siegel seines Eigentums und als Garantie seiner kostbaren Verheißungen.

Jesus has many names and titles, and some of them are mysterious and unknown (Rev. 19:12). Here Jesus is talking about a name or title that is new to him, and that was Kyrios or Lord or “the One who is supreme above all.” When Jesus walked the earth he was known as Jesus of Nazareth. But after he ascended to heaven he was given a new name above every name, and that name is Lord (Php. 2:9–11). Put it altogether and Jesus is saying this: “He who overcomes (i.e., believes in me), I will save. I will write my new name on them—that name that is above all names—and nothing and no one will ever separate them from my love.” It’s an emphatic declaration of friendship and salvation and aid and protection from the best Friend you could ever have.

Weiterlesen: „The I wills of the New Covenant


Revelation 3:13

Wer Ohren hat, der höre, was der Geist den Gemeinden sagt.

Wer ein Ohr hat; sehen Eintrag for Rev. 2:7.


Revelation 3:14

To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:

(a) Der Engel; sehen Eintrag for Rev. 2:1.

(b) The angel of the church in Laodicea was possibly Archippus, the son of Philemon (Phm. 1:2).

The church in Laodicea may have been planted by some anonymous Jew from Phrygia who happened to be in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost (see Acts 2:10). Or perhaps Epaphras took the gospel there on his journey from Ephesus to Colossae. By the time of Paul, this church was meeting in the house of a woman called Nympha (Col. 4:15), and Archippus seems to have been in charge. We know this because Paul says to him, “Be sure to do the work the Lord gave you” (Col. 4:17). In other words, “Do your job.” Was Archippus a bad bishop, negligent in preaching the gospel? Was he the reason this church was so strenuously rebuked by the Lord? It’s an intriguing possibility.

(c) Laodicea was named after the murderous Seleucid Queen Laodice. Her name was made up of two Greek words: laos, meaning people, and Deich, meaning justice or judgment. Hence Laodicea means the judging people or people rule. It’s an apt name for a church that was ruled by people. King Jesus did not rule; the people did.

(d) Jesus is the Yes and the Amen and the underwriter of all the promises of the new covenant (2 Cor. 1:20).

(e) Jesus is the faithful and true Witness in contrast with the Laodiceans who were faithless and false.

(f) Jesus is the Beginning of creation. By him all things were made (John 1:1–4). This description would have been familiar to the Laodiceans for they had heard Jesus described this way in Paul’s letter to the Colossians (Col. 1:15–17). By calling himself the first cause or ruler of creation, Jesus is establishing his credentials as our Maker. He who made us knows our true condition better than we know ourselves.

The Laodiceans had an inflated opinion of themselves. They saw themselves as winners in the game of life. However, their Maker gives them a more honest assessment, and his diagnosis is not good.


Revelation 3:15

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.

(a) Ich kenne deine Taten; sehen Eintrag for Rev. 2:19.

(b) You are neither cold nor hot. The Laodiceans had not submitted to either law or grace.

There’s nothing colder than an unfeeling heart deadened by the implacable demands of the law, and there’s nothing hotter than a heart burning with the white-hot love of our heavenly Father. To be cold is to live under the stone-cold statutes of the law. To be hot is to live in the sunny warmth of your Father’s loving embrace. It’s basking in the white-hot passion of God’s wild and uncontainable love and reveling in his grace.

Jesus is talking about mixture. Cold is cold and hot is hot and the Laodiceans were neither. Had they been living under the death-dealing law, they would have been as cold as corpses, for a rigid law makes frigid followers. And if they had been walking in the sunshine of God’s love, they would have been warmed by his grace. They were doing neither.

(c) I wish that you were cold because the cold law reveals our need for grace.

Cold is what you are when you live 24/7 under a cold and unforgiving law. It’s recognizing that God has a zero-tolerance policy, and that he who keeps the whole law but stumbles on one point will be judged as guilty of all (Jas. 2:10). “He sends forth his commandment to the earth… who can stand before his cold?” (Ps. 147:15, 17, AMP). Like an icy blizzard, the unforgiving law is harsh on human flesh. No one can stand before it, and by it all are condemned. Why does Jesus wish the Laodiceans were cold? Because the merciless mirror of God’s law reveals our shortcomings and shame. It exposes our nakedness and condemns us as sinners in need of grace (Rom. 3:19, 23).

You may say, “I’m not perfect, but I’m basically a good person,” and the law replies, “You are not good enough. A holy God demands perfection and nothing less. As we hear the chilling rebuke of the law, winter descends. Our hearts are numbed and our mouths are frozen shut. That’s the bad news of Romans 3:23, but the good news follows in the next verse: “All are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24). The law condemns the best of us, but grace redeems even the worst of us.

Some say that being cold means being indifferent to the things of God, but why would Jesus wish that? Others say that cold refers to cool, refreshing works. But Jesus is speaking about people, not deeds. “I wish you were cold. Further reading: “Why does Jesus wish we were cold?

(c) I wish that you were hot because Jesus loves us and he wants us to bask in the warmth of his love.

Being hot has nothing to do with having zealous faith or being on fire for God. The problem with approaching God on the basis of zeal is it’s all relative. You may think you’re hot stuff. “I fast every week and give a tenth of all I have.” But compared to the guy who fasts and gives twice as much you’re only lukewarm.

Jesus does not wish the Laodiceans were more enthusiastic or effective, although those are good things. His desire is that they would know and enjoy his love. The message is similar to that given to the Ephesians, but with one important difference. The Ephesians had wandered from the love of Christ. In contrast, the Laodiceans had never experienced it. They had never opened their hearts to the love of the Lord.


Revelation 3:16

So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.

(a) The Laodiceans were lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold because they were mixing law with grace and receiving the benefits of neither.

Lukewarm is what you get when you mix hot with cold. It is mixing: the new covenant of grace with the old covenant of works; the new law written on our hearts with the old law written on stone; the rest of the new with the ceaseless demands of the old; the unbreakable promises of God with the brittle promises of man; the liberty of Zion with the bondage of Sinai; and the ministry of no condemnation with the ministry that condemns.

The Laodiceans’ problem was not zeal or ineffectiveness but self-trust. They were addicted to the lukewarm drink of homebrew righteousness. Further reading: “How do we become lukewarm?

(b) I will spit you out of my mouth. This spitting out passage is sometimes used to terrorize the bride of Christ. “Fail to perform and the Lord will reject you. If you’re not on fire, you’ll be in the fire!” Such an evil line is a million miles from the gracious heart of the One who is faithful and true.

Some Bibles translate Jesus’ words as, “You make me want to vomit.” Have you ever vomited up a kidney or a toe? It’s a ridiculous notion, yet this is what some fear will happen. “Jesus vomits body parts.” Thankfully, this horrendous picture is refuted by scripture: “The one who comes to me I will most certainly not cast out [I will never, no never, reject one of them who comes to me]” (John 6:37, AMP).

Since Jesus will never ever reject those who come to him, who is in danger of being spat out? It’s those who are too proud to come. It is those who deny their need for Jesus. Jesus is talking about self-righteous hypocrites who scorn grace. He is not talking about Christians. Further reading: “Who will Jesus spit out?


Revelation 3:17

Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked

(a) You say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy.” For the first and only time in the Bible, we hear the Laodiceans speak, and in their few words we hear arrogance, self-assurance, and a vigorous streak of Adamic independence. Theirs is the boast of the self-made man.

“I am rich.” If you met a Laodicean at a party, the first thing you would notice was their affluence. Like the Pharisees, the Laodiceans were lovers of money (Luke 16:14). Wealth was their scorecard, the indisputable proof of their accomplishments. The Laodiceans were winners in the game of life, and they knew it.

“I have become wealthy.” There’s nothing wrong with being wealthy, for Abraham, David, Joseph and many godly people had wealth. But the Laodiceans boasted that they had become wealthy. They were poor, but now they were rich and all credit went to themselves.

(b) “I have need of nothing.” The goal of the self-made life is to stand on one’s own feet and to live without aid. In this, the Laodiceans had spectacularly succeeded. They were go-getters whose products were known around the world. Nothing could hinder their driving ambition. Not even natural disasters.

In AD60, one of those earthquakes that afflict Anatolia from time to time, flattened several cities including Laodicea. When Rome offered to assist in the rebuild, the Laodiceans refused. They boasted, “We have need of nothing.” Unlike the Sardians and Philadelphians, the Laodiceans fixed themselves. Structures built with local funds were stamped with the proud inscription, “out of our own resources.” Lesser cities like Sardis might need aid, but not the self-sufficient Laodiceans. And therein lay the problem.

Grace is heavenly aid, but the self-sufficient don’t need it. “We have need of nothing.” Their pride will not let them receive what God offers. To ask for help would be an admission of failure. “Grace is for losers, not winners like us.”

(c) You are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked is an apt description of the self-righteous mindset. Who is wretched and pitiful but the one who is drowning mid-ocean and believes they can save themselves? Who is blind but the lost who can’t see their need for help? Who is naked but the one who refuses to be clothed with the life preserver called Jesus?

Why did Jesus say they were wretched? Because only the wretched cry out for rescue. And why did Jesus say they were naked? Because none but the naked will ever go to him for clothing.

Jesus only called two groups of people blind: the Laodiceans and the Pharisees. What did they have in common? They were both self-righteous. Jesus said the Pharisees were “fools and blind men” (Matt. 23:17). They were blind because they could not discern their true state before God. They were like white-washed tombs, outwardly beautiful but “full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness” (Matt. 23:27). In the same way, the Laodiceans had an outward appearance of success. Their church attracted social climbers, over-achievers, and winners. But the church was a tomb inhabited by the wretched and deceased. There was no life in it because Jesus wasn’t there.

(d) You do not know. The Laodiceans had no idea they were spiritually destitute. Like the rich man with his barns (Luke 12:18), they were stockpiling their good works, but they were not rich toward God.

Some say Jesus spoke harshly because he hates the Laodiceans. Others say his harsh words connote anger and condemnation. But Jesus loves the Laodiceans and wants them to turn around. He didn’t write to condemn them but to save them. If his words sound harsh it’s because the truth is sometimes hard to hear. It takes a hard truth to dislodge a deep deception, and that’s what Jesus dispenses here. In speaking harshly to the Laodiceans, the faithful and true Witness reveals their true condition. He lets them know, in no uncertain terms, that they have fallen short of God’s glory.


Revelation 3:18

I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.

(a) I advise. The law drives us, but Jesus draws us. The law whips, but the Lord woos. The law commands, but Christ counsels us like the true friend he is. The Ruler of all does not demand obedience from the Laodiceans. He does not threaten them with hellfire or damnation. Instead, he draws them aside like a trader in the marketplace with the deal of a lifetime.

(b) I advise you to buy from me. With unexpected generosity, he makes them an offer that’s too good to pass up. Why is Jesus talking like a businessman? Perhaps it is because this was a church of merchants and business people. They understood the art of the deal. “You want to do business?” Jesus said. “Then do business with me.”

Is Jesus saying we can buy our salvation? In a manner of speaking, he is. To buy something is to exchange something we have for something we value more. You might say we buy salvation by exchanging our sins for his forgiveness, but the real exchange is Jesus for us. Christianity is a divine exchange, our life for his. It’s the best deal you’ll ever make.

But how can they buy if they are poor? Because grace pays for all. The true riches that Christ offers come without cost, or rather, they come with a great cost that he has paid on our behalf. This deal makes no economic sense. We come to him poor and empty-handed, and receive everything in return. We come naked and are clothed. We come hungry and are filled. We come thirsty and are satisfied (Is. 55:1).

(c) Gold, garments, and salve. Laodicea’s fortunes rested on three legs: gold (their banking sector), garments (their world-famous woolen tunics), and eye salve (Phrygian powder).

Jesus counsels the Laodiceans to purchase the heavenly equivalents of their earthly treasures: refined gold, signifying your God-given faith (1 Pet. 1:7); the white clothes of his righteousness; and salve or revelation so that we may see who Christ is and what he has done for us.

Some say that Jesus is calling the Laodiceans to lay themselves on the altar of sacrifice, but that’s hardly the impression he’s giving. He’s inviting them to exchange something that won’t last, for something of eternal value. He’s offering himself and all the heavenly treasures of wisdom and knowledge that are hidden in him (Col. 2:3). It’s an unbeatable offer. To paraphrase the missionary Jim Elliot, “The Laodicean is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”

(d) So that you may become rich toward God (Luke 12:21).

There are two kinds of people: the self-righteousness who say, “I am rich and don’t need a thing,” and the spiritually poor who say, “I need Jesus.” The first group are rich-but-poor (like the Laodiceans), while the second are poor-but-rich (like the Smyrneans; Rev. 2:9). When you have Jesus, you have the most priceless treasure in the universe. Without him we are poor, naked, and blind. With him we are truly and eternally rich.


Revelation 3:19

Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent.

(a) Those whom I love. Jesus loves everyone, from faithful Philadelphians to lukewarm Laodiceans.

The original verb for love (phileo) means fondness or affection. It’s the same word that describes the affection God has for his Son (John 5:20) and Jesus had for his friend Lazarus (John 11:3, 36). Jesus does not love the Laodiceans in a dutiful I-had-better-love-my-enemies sort of way. He really loves them!

Some typically dismiss the Laodiceans as the worst of the seven churches. If so, the good news is that Jesus loves even the worst of us. The Laodiceans were a pompous pack of poseurs. Smug, rich, and full of themselves, they likely had few friends. Yet here is Jesus, the friend of sinners and poseurs, extending the hand of friendship. It is an astonishing display of grace.

(b) I reprove and discipline. To reprove means to convict or expose; to discipline means to disciple or train. These activities are connected because one of the ways our loving Father trains us is by turning on the lights and exposing the dangers around us.

The Laodiceans were heading the wrong way. Jesus spoke sharply not to shame them but to save them and turn them around. By revealing the bankruptcy of their self-righteousness and the depths of their wretchedness, he hoped they would come to him for grace.

“To reprove is to punish,” says the grim-faced preacher. “Jesus punishes those he loves.” He does no such thing, and why would he, since he has borne our punishment on the cross? To penalize the Laodiceans, or anyone, would be to diminish his own costly sacrifice.

Pride is a prison. It diminishes us and severs our connection with others and the Lord. The illusion of self-sufficiency fills our mind with falsehoods. “I don’t need anyone or anything.” Thank God for the true and faithful Witness who speaks truth to our lies. When our conceits have deceived us and our successes have seduced us, thank God for a friend like Jesus.

(c) Be zealous and repent. Self-made religion reverses the order of Jesus’ words: “Repent and be zealous. Turn from sin then get busy serving the Lord.” This is the path to dead works. Heed this back-to-front advice and you’ll end up as self-righteous as a Laodicean. The proper order is, “Be zealous and repent.” Run, don’t walk to Jesus.

The traditional view is that the Laodiceans were lazy and half-hearted and needed to turn up the enthusiasm dial, but in reality they were as zealous as Pharisees. They weren’t apathetic; they were busy little beavers who had pulled themselves up by their bootstraps. They were successful business people, and Jesus acknowledges their endeavor. “You want to be zealous? Then zealously repent. Run from your dead works and come eagerly to my throne of grace.” He’s not mocking them; he’s exhorting them to channel their natural fervor in a healthy direction.

(d) Bereuen; sehen Eintrag for Rev. 2:5.

Weiterlesen: „Three things people get wrong about the Laodiceans


Revelation 3:20

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.

(a) I stand at the door and knock. Jesus doesn’t force his way into our lives.

Under Roman law, visiting officials had the power to requisition lodgings for themselves and their entourage. Even though it was an imposition to host, feed, and even pay hungry soldiers, nobody could shut their door. But the Laodiceans weren’t nobody. They were a proud people who, in 40BC, famously closed their doors to a Roman general called Labienus Parthicus.

The Laodiceans were known for their closed doors, and this is one of their more appealing traits. Shutting one’s door to a hostile invader is admirable. But Jesus is no Roman oppressor. Although he is the Ruler of All, he does not impose himself upon us. He does not demand that we open our doors and slay the fatted calf for his benefit. Instead, he gently asks us to open our door so that he may come in and dine with us.

In the Gospels, Jesus promises that if we knock the door will be opened (Matt. 7:7). But the Laodiceans aren’t knocking. They’re not the sort of people who do. “We have need of nothing.” They won’t come to Jesus, so the Ruler of Creation comes to them. It is a stunning act of condescension.

The Laodiceans’ religion is offensive, yet Jesus is not offended. Their self-righteousness stinks to high heaven, yet Jesus does not withdraw in a holy huff. Nor does he call down fire from above. Instead, he speaks tenderly with lovingkindness.

Those unacquainted with the grace of God make much of the punishment that Jesus will supposedly inflict on underperforming churches. Yet here is Jesus outside the worst church in the Bible hoping to enter and dine with them. Was there ever a more breathtaking picture of grace? By seeking to justify themselves, the Laodiceans had rejected Christ. Yet here is Jesus offering undeserved acceptance. They had spat upon his good name and insulted the Spirit of Grace, and Jesus replies, “Let’s eat.”

(b) If anyone hears my voice. Although this letter is for the church, his invitation is universal and personal. His invitation is for you and me and everyone besides. Jesus has not come to the marketplace to address the crowd; he has come to your door and mine to meet each of us where we are at. We all must choose what to do with the Savior outside our door.

(c) I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. To dine is to enjoy one another’s company. It’s resting from your labor, leaving the kitchen, and sitting at the feet of Jesus. It’s the ultimate happy meal.

Weiterlesen: „Jesus at the door


Revelation 3:21

He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

(a) Er, der überwindet; sehen Eintrag for Rev. 2:7.

(b) I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne. This promise is a present reality for the Christian. God has raised us up. God has seated us with Christ. The moment you were placed in Christ, you were seated on his throne (Eph. 2:6). And it’s a very strange promise to offer to a Laodicean.

The Laodiceans were success stories. They had climbed the ladder and won the jackpot of life only to hear Jesus say, “You’re wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.” Jesus hit them with a hard word to awaken them to their true state. But having done that, he unexpectedly offers them a free ride. “Stop trying to claw your way to the top and allow me to elevate you to the very throne of God.” This is not a deal we would offer. We’d rather knock the haughty Laodiceans off their high horse and let them stew in the pit of wretchedness for a while. But Jesus is not like us. He bears witness to the truth that humbles the proud, and then immediately gives grace to the recently humbled. It’s as if he’s in a hurry, as though he cannot wait to come in and have dinner with the sort of people the rest of us despise. Truly the world knows no love like his love.

(c) Mein Vater; sehen Eintrag for John 4:21.

(d) His throne is a throne of grace that all may approach (Heb. 4:16). It is not a seat at the table reserved for high achievers.


Revelation 3:22

Wer Ohren hat, der höre, was der Geist den Gemeinden sagt.

Wer ein Ohr hat; sehen Eintrag for Rev. 2:7.


Note: Much of the material on this page comes from Paul Ellis’s book Letters from Jesus: Finding Good News in Christ’s Letters to the Churches. This book explores these letters in greater depth as well as providing sources, notes, and illustrations.


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2 Kommentare

  1. Thank you for this! The message to the Laodiceans – like a lot of Revelation – scares me, because I expect to hear in it only words of condemnation. At my most paranoid, I have even been inclined to interpret it as ‘If your life is comfortable and survivable – like having a body temperature of 36-37 Centigrade (97-99 Fahrenheit) – then God wants to expose you to extremes that cause PAIN! God would rather you were either frozen to death, or exposed to superheated steam that melts the flesh off your bones!’

  2. For years, I have been wishing that a kind of commentary like this will come. This is a dream come true to me. I praise God for your life and writings. Thank you Paul.

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