Among the Lampstands

David Bast

Read: Revelation 2:1; Matthew 18:18-20

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. (Matt. 18:20)

Each of Jesus’ seven letters is addressed to the “angel” of the church. The word angelos could also be translated “messenger,” so it’s likely that the addressee is the pastor of each of seven churches rather than a literal angel. Regardless, the Lord’s words are intended for the whole congregation. All seven letters follow the same outline: first, an opening, where the recipients and the sender are identified. In each letter, the glorified Jesus is described with one of the phrases from John’s vision of him in chapter 1. Next comes the Lord’s message to the church—exhortation plus praise and/or criticism. And finally, the letter concludes with a warning (“Listen to what the Spirit is saying!”) and a promise to those who “conquer” by standing firm in faith.

Jesus is standing among seven golden lampstands, and gripping the seven stars in his right hand. The symbolism of Revelation often is difficult to decipher, but not here. Jesus himself explains the meaning: “the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches” (Rev. 1:20). Jesus is present in each of his churches and with each of his ministers. Of all places, this is where he chooses to be! In the sanctuary during worship, in the fellowship hall over coffee, in the Sunday school class, in the nursery with the little ones, in the pastor’s study—the Lord is there, unseen but alive; hearing, seeing, caring. —David Bast

As you pray, remember your church and pastor before the Lord.