40 blogs of Lent – Day 28
Messages to the churches – Day 23
Philadelphia – Day 1
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.
Philadelphia is located on the Cogamis River in western Asia Minor, about 80 miles east of Smyrna. Philadelphia was known for its variety of temples and worship centres.
Jesus reveals himself here to be the holy and true one. Holy means set aside, worthy of veneration and worship, Jesus is holy and true. Jesus is worthy of our praise, in fact more praise than we could possibly do. However glorious we can imagine Jesus is more than that. Jesus is making it clear in a place where there is lots of choice that he is the true one, by implication all others are false. Jesus alone is worthy of praise.
We are in a pluralistic society, we can choose among a number of religions, or none, or a pick and mix of the nice bits from several faiths. All of these can be chosen, but Christ reveals that there is only one, and he is the one that is holy and true. It will not be popular in today’s society. We have similarities with other religions, in fact I believe that we Christians have more in common with those who follow a religion than those who do not follow a faith, and this common ground should quite rightly be used as a place to start conversations. But in the end we have to come to terms with the demands of Jesus that he alone in to be followed, he alone is to be worshipped. There is no Jesus plus anything else, there is only Jesus.
If you have time, take a moment to praise the only Lord, Jesus.
“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.
“‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie—behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet and they will learn that I have loved you. Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown. The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.