“‘I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.“
In Revelation 2-3, we read letters to seven churches that Jesus instructed John to record. After an introductory identification of Jesus as the author of those letters, each one begins with the words I know. Some people might think of those words in relationship to the Lord with fear or dread, like, “Uh oh. He knows.” But the truth is, the fact that Jesus knows is a blessed grace to those who follow Him. It’s not just that He knows in the sense that He is omniscient; He knows in the sense that He understands and relates on a personal level.
He is Lord, and He is our great High Priest who sympathizes with us and enables us to draw near to the throne of grace.
Revelation 2:13 was written to the church in Pergamum. Jesus commended that congregation for maintaining their commitment to Him. He knew the incredible difficulty in that. Satan had used his stronghold in the city to make life miserable for the Christians. One of their number, a faithful witness to the gospel named Antipas, had even been put to death. While believers in other places might have buckled in the face of such pressure, Christ complimented the believers who did not renounce their faith.
The Church at Pergamum wasn’t perfect; the rest of the letter to them contains Jesus’ rebuke of their compromise of letting some essentials slide. It calls them to repent of their sin and hold fast to Jesus’ name, not only among their persecutors but also within their own congregation where false teachings were not being confronted and dealt with.
Holding fast to the confession of Jesus means that we hold fast to the integrity of His commands, too. As we do, we can take comfort that Jesus knows our struggle and He empowers us to overcome. The God who promises to judge is also the God who promises to save.
• When you think about God knowing everything about you, do you feel anxious or encouraged? Why?
• What is one situation where you need to hold fast to Jesus’ name this week? What would it look like for you to do that?
• Thank Jesus for not just knowing everything, but for understanding and sympathizing with your sin struggles. Ask Him to help you discern the places where you’re not holding fast to His name and are letting some essentials slide.