Daily Readings and Thought for December 22nd. THOSE WHOM I LOVE I REPROVE AND DISCIPLINE”
The 7 letters to the 7 different assemblies of believers that we read in Revelation 2 and 3 always challenge our thinking. They are representative of all the different types of congregations that have existed over time and each of us should be able to see in one or more of them, a “picture” of the congregation to which we belong. However, if a community only believes in God in a nominal sense, especially the humanistic minded churches of today, that is probably not the case.
The words that particularly jumped out as we read were – “Those whom I love I reprove and discipline” [3 v.19] followed by the words, “so be zealous and repent.” This message was addressed to the “lukewarm” [v.16] believers at Laodicea. In our present overwhelmingly godless environment we believe the warnings in this letter probably have a very wide application.
Jesus hears these believers at Laodicea saying, at least in their hearts, “I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing”- and then observes, “not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked” [v.17]. To be spiritually naked is a frightful tragedy, especially when you are blind to the fact as most if not all would be; the religious leaders who despised Jesus are a ‘worse case’ example.
We thought about that phrase, “…those whom I love I reprove and discipline.” Jesus wishes to love all those who genuinely seek him and is always looking for lost sheep or the prodigal man (or woman) who suddenly realize they are “naked.” Job was loved by his God and was disciplined to make him an even better and wiser “upright man” – as we will shortly read and more clearly recognise the purpose behind his tribulations.
The Laodicean letter concludes, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him … “ [v.20]. We hear his voice by reading his word and really taking into our minds and hearts what we read.