November 5, 2019
John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
The seven churches in Asia Minor, modern-day Turkey, were under the control of the Romans, with Barbarians to the North always threatening to come down and raid their towns and cities. Emperor Nero had just committed suicide in 86 AD, civil war and unrest followed until Domitian became emperor. Though he was a fair emperor, he was known for his persecution of Christians. Many feared that Domitian was a reincarnation of Nero. It was at this time John wrote his letter to the seven churches to stabilize and get them refocused.
His focus was three-fold:
- Jesus Christ was, is, and always will be the answer to life’s problem and that whatever they were experiencing, the church should look to Jesus.
- They needed to realize that they were not of this world, and they were there to usher in God’s kingdom.
- As priests, worship was to play a key role. Worship comes out of a grateful heart.
Those three points are still key to us today.