Come and Dine
by Mark Hedrick
December 15, Tuesday – Psalms 45, 47, 48; Zech. 2:1–13; Rev. 3:14–22; Matt. 24:32–44
(ESV Daily Office Readings Online)
Some of the most interesting parts of the book of Revelation to me are the letters to the seven churches. Whenever I read them, I wonder what those church communities were like, what their specific struggles were, and what the LORD wanted them to do.
In his commentary Revelation for Everyone, N.T. Wright sheds some light on the brief letter to Laodicea. This can be found in our reading for the day, Revelation 3: 14-22. As you might guess from reading this scripture, Laodicea was actually the financial center of the region, a rather wealthy town. It boasted a medical school, specializing in ophthalmology. It was also the locale for a breed of sheep with extraordinary black wool, which was used to manufacture sought-after clothing items. The one thing that Laodicea lacked was – you probably guessed it from the scripture passage – a good source of drinking water.
With all this background information, one can now see just how personal Jesus’ words were to the Laodicean church. He describes their spiritual life in terms of their drinking water- their drinking water being rather disgusting. He goes on to say how they boast of their status and material advantages – yet they need to come to Jesus for what they really need. As the scripture passage says, Jesus is the beginning of creation – how can the boasts of the Laodiceans compare with that? Their boasting appears rather ridiculous. Yet think how good our LORD is.
As N. T. Wright says, Jesus, after upbraiding this church, offers to them most wonderful and loving promises – promises to come and share a banquet, promises to be strengthened, and promises for those who conquer to be seated by Jesus on his throne. Let us pray to hear and understand what the Spirit may be saying to us as a community through the Scripture this Advent season.
Image by David Merrigan (used by permission via Creative Commons).