“Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.”
— Revelation 2:10

To the family of God, near and far, young and old, rich and poor, Jesus speaks as “the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.”
Jesus presents himself to the church in Smyrna as divine and sovereign, being over all history—past, present, and future. As the First and the Last, he covers not only the ends of the spectrum but also everything in between.
Even death could not hold Jesus; he is alive! All who believe that Jesus suffered and died for them can find comfort in knowing that death will not hold them either. In Jesus, like Jesus, we will be raised to new life. In Jesus we have assurance that we will live forever with him.
With this truth Jesus encouraged and strengthened our brothers and sisters in Smyrna. He went on to mention their afflictions and their poverty. He knew they were slandered by people who said they followed God but did not. Those people were agents of Satan, he said. Jesus called his true followers not to be afraid of any suffering or persecution they would face. “Be faithful, even to the point of death,” he said. He had already been there for them. The One who is First and Last would hold them through all that would come their way. This same Jesus will also be with us through the difficulties we face. Jesus is the One who gives life and victory, now and forever.

Thank you, Jesus, for dying and coming to life again for us. In you we can be assured that nothing will ever separate us from your love. Amen.

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