“Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to . . . test the inhabitants of the earth.”
— Revelation 3:10
Jesus suffered terribly because of how sinful our world is. After suffering, Jesus even died because of our sins. He endured suffering and died so that our sins would be paid for and our deaths could be overcome. Then, on the third day, Jesus rose from the dead in triumph—yet we must not lose sight of his suffering.
The believers who made up the church in ancient Philadelphia (in Greece) held tightly to the story of Jesus’ suffering. It inspired them enough to face their own suffering and persecution. And Jesus said they would be rewarded for their steadfast endurance.
In this passage, what is called “patience” is more like extreme patience. It’s the kind of patience that is required to endure doing the right thing and living the right way even when you can’t see any benefit in doing so. It is the virtue of holding on even when the reward might not come in this life.
Jesus’ reward was that his death opened up a door to allow us to spend eternity with him. And our reward is that being devoted to Jesus allows us to step through that door and spend eternity with him.
He believed that you and I are a reward worth dying for. Do we believe the same about him?
Dearest Jesus, when this world refuses to reward us for being like you, help us to focus on the reward of living with you forever. Amen.