Spying seems to have become a way of life nowadays. One never knows who is snooping, and why. Do we want the government or others to know what we are writing, whom we are talking to, where we travel, and even what we are thinking? On the other hand, do we want a doctor to “pry” with his x-ray, ultrasound, MRI or CT scan to see what’s wrong with us?
When Jesus appeared to the apostle John many years after he had returned to heaven, it was a fearsome sight. Among other features of his glorious appearance, “his eyes were like blazing fire” (Revelation 1:14) Later, this image is repeated as he says to one of the seven churches, “I am he who searches hearts and minds.” How do we feel about Jesus knowing everything about us?
In chapters 2-3, seven churches get their grade reports from Jesus himself. He introduces each one with the words, “I know…” Five of the churches first receive commendation for what they have done right. Things like their hard work, endurance in the face of suffering, love and obedience.
Then, to five of the churches he delivers the bad news and what will happen if they don’t change their ways. These are the kinds of issues Jesus considers as very serious:
–Lack of love for God and one another (2:4-5)
–Tolerance of sexual immorality and of false teaching (2:14, 20-23)
–Complacency, pride, and a self-sufficient attitude (3:17)
In other words, they were losing their distinctive and becoming like the non-Christians around them. How many of us who call ourselves “Christians” find ourselves in this list?
In each case, the remedy is prescribed:
Turn from our wrong ways!
Come to Jesus!
And remain faithful to the end!
Then the rewards are promised—privileges and rewards for the winners in this earthly struggle: secure admission and citizenship in God’s heavenly kingdom with such things fruit from the Tree of Life, gold medals (literally, laurel wreaths as awarded to Olympic champions), and even the privilege of sitting with Jesus on his throne! (3:21)
O LORD, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, LORD.
You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand!