Many of us, if asked if we would like to receive a letter from Jesus would answer “yes.” We might imagine that such a letter would be full of encouragement and praise for what we’ve done well. It’s hard to imagine that Jesus would criticize us. Sometimes this comes from the idea that the Bible is “God’s love letter to us.” Other times it flows from the belief that the only thing God evaluates in our lives is the strength of our belief, of our agreement with certain truths about Jesus. Still, for some, because our churches don’t practice discipline with regard to their members, it’s hard to imagine Jesus practicing discipline within His church.
But the letters from Jesus to the seven churches of the Revelation tell a very different story. Jesus so loves His people and is so zealous for their faithfulness that He will not allow them to remain in error or spiritual stagnation. These letters are gritty and real, full of genuine commendation and honest critique. Pay attention to how often Jesus speaks of “works” in the letters. He expects His people to do what He has commanded, because those who love Jesus obey His commands (Matt. 28:20; John 14:15-31; 15:14; 1 John 2:3; 2 John 1:6).
If we are to serve the Jesus who is real, who exists now as the king of God’s people and the lord of His Church, we must let Him speak honestly to us, accept all He has to say, even when it’s difficult, and follow His instructions, for our good and His glory. To view or download the companion study guide, click here.