“These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name.”
— Revelation 2:12-13

The city of Pergamum was the capital of the Roman province of Asia (present-day Turkey). The Roman ruler there held the power of the sword; at his decision someone could immediately be put to death. So in that setting Jesus, “the ruler of the kings of the earth” (Revelation 1:5), with “the sharp, double-edged sword” of his mouth (1:16; 2:12), claimed ultimate authority over eternal life and death. Jesus commends the church for “remaining true to [his] name” and staying in Pergamum. They took up permanent residence in this city filled with pagan temples and idol worship. They became rooted in the Pergamum community and built up the church in a most difficult location, where Satan lived and reigned.
Jesus had previously taught his followers to do this: “On this rock [the so-called ‘gates of Hades’ at Caesarea Philippi in northern Galilee] I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it” (Matthew 16:18). Similarly Jesus is saying, “In Pergamum I will build my church, and the throne of Satan will not overcome it.” Satan will never overcome a faithful community of Jesus-followers. Trust the One who is Judge to keep his word on your behalf. Be humble, be obedient, be strong.

King of kings, Lord of lords, guide us to follow you with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Open doors to your Word, and empower us to share it. Amen.

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