Clouds Parting Revealing the Heavens

A daily devotion for July 26th

Faithful and True

To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.

Rev 3:14

The city of Laodicea was part of a tri-city area, closely associated with the cities of Colossae and Hierapolis. Laodicea was noted throughout the Roman province of Asia for its wealth, its commercial life, and its medical practice. As the banking center of Asia, it was the most prosperous of the seven cities. Many large, beautiful homes were built in this city, and probably some of them were owned by Christians. Laodicea also had a flourishing clothing industry. A breed of black sheep were raised around this area, and the wool was woven into special clothes that were sold here. The city was also noted for its eye and ear salve. All of this will explain some of the references we find in this letter to the church there.

As in all the letters, our Lord introduces himself in a significant way. His opening description forms the key to what the church needs. He was first of all the Amen. We are all familiar with this word; we utter it when we close a prayer or when we want to express our agreement with a statement. But it is also a word that Jesus used frequently. He begins many statements with the words, Truly, truly, I say to you. Actually, in Greek, that is Amen, Amen. It indicates that Jesus is saying something extremely important and true.

Also, our Lord calls himself the faithful and true witness. He has emphasized his truthfulness before in these letters, but here he adds the word faithful. He not only tells the truth, but he tells all the truth. He does not hide anything. He speaks plainly and clearly and reveals the whole truth.

The third phrase, the ruler of God's creation. is better translated, the beginning of God's creation. It is the same word that the Gospel of John opens with: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1). Jesus is the origin, the beginning of God's creation, but not merely of the old creation, i.e., the physical universe in which we live. Jesus is also the source of the new creation that God is building. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5, If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17a). We are part of a new world that the Lord is bringing into being. It has already begun, and that is the point: old things have passed away; behold all things have become new, (2 Corinthians 5:17b KJV).

This church in Laodicea particularly needs to know that truth. At the end of his letter to the Colossians, Paul says, See that [this letter] is read also in the church of the Laodiceans (Colossians 4:16b). So the Laodiceans were to be familiar with the letter to Colossae, and it is in that letter that Paul emphasizes Jesus' link with creation. He is the firstborn of creation (Colossians 1:15), and the firstborn from among the dead (Colossians 1:18b), which is the new creation. This church at Laodicea needs to be told important truth, the whole truth, and especially truth about how to relate to God's new creation.

Lord, you are the faithful and true witness, the first born of all creation. Thank you for making me a new creation in Christ. Amen.

Life Application

Am I growing deeper in the knowledge of Jesus Christ, the word made flesh? Am I growing to not just know more about him, but to more intimately know him?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

The Poor-Rich Church

Listen to Ray