In Revelation 2 and 3, the resurrected, glorified Jesus Christ communicates individual messages to seven different churches. Each message begins with the same two words: “I know.” He is the first and the last, the Amen, the Son of God who has eyes like a flame of fire, and he knows. He is the faithful witness, the one who loves us and can free us from our sins by his blood, making us a kingdom, priests to his Father, and he knows. He is the living one who died and is alive forevermore, the holder of the keys of Death and Hades, the ruler of kings on earth who walks among his churches, and he knows.
“I know where you dwell.” Jesus described Pergamum as “where Satan’s throne is.” It’s hard to imagine how bad the situation in that city had to be to warrant such a devastating diagnosis. And yet, there were saints–men and women who were holding fast to Jesus’ name and refusing to deny his faith. Wherever you are today, whatever the circumstances, however deep the darkness, Jesus knows.
“I know your works.” Christians sprinkled throughout Asia were faithfully serving, toiling on, patiently enduring. In the eyes of the world, they had “but little power.” And yet, Jesus promises to continue setting before them open doors of opportunity. “Do not fear.” “Remember what you have received and keep what you have heard.” “Hold fast.” “Be faithful.” “I am coming.” Wherever you are serving today, whatever the obstacles or uncertainties, however small and insufficient you may feel, Jesus knows.
“I know your love.” Some had abandoned the love they had at first. Others were lukewarm. Some had the reputation of being alive, but they were dead. Jesus spoke hard-to-hear, straightforward rebukes to many. “Wake up.” “You are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” “Repent.” “Do the works you did at first.” But notice the heart behind the rebukes: “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline.” Listen. Jesus knows how badly you’ve stumbled in the past. He knows how foolish, self-centered, and rebellious you’ve been. He knows just how far astray from the path of life you’ve wandered. There are no secrets. He knows. And yet, you were blessed with another day today. The holy and true one who knows you better than you know yourself continues to patiently stand at the door and graciously knock with love in his heart for you. Why?
“I know.” Jesus knows how to turn my life around and lead me to victory as more than a conqueror over sin and death. He knows the way to the tree of life. Jesus knows how to clothe you in white garments, give you a new name, and confess you as his own before his Father. Jesus knows how to keep us from being hurt by the second death. “I am he who searches mind and heart.” He is alive, never to die again. He cares. He is active, he is coming, and he has promised to give to each of us according to our works.
Which means? It’s not enough for me to say, “I know,” and leave him on the other side of the door. Each message Jesus sends to the churches concludes with the same call: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says.” The door must be opened. His voice must be heeded. His heart must be trusted. His lead must be followed. And no one can do that for me. But if I will…
“If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.” (Rev 3:20-21)
He knows. May those things we can know about him from Revelation 2 and 3 compel us to stick close to him today.