“You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives.”
Jesus describes Pergamum as a city where “Satan lives” and where “Satan has his throne.” In this city one of the faithful Christians, Antipas, was put to death for his faith in Jesus. Faced with persecution and threats, the church in this city remained faithful to Jesus.
In his letter to this community of believers, Jesus commended and praised the church for their loyalty. Indeed, remaining faithful at the risk of losing one’s life is to live by faith at a high price.
Church communities continue to live in dangerous places. There are many communities in the world where believers live by faith in Jesus in the midst of threats to life, property, and well-being. Many have also been forced to leave their homelands, where for centuries the church shone the light of Christ into dark places. Others have been killed or imprisoned.
Their continued loyalty as witnesses to Jesus provides strong encouragement to the church in all places. At great cost and even loss of life, they urge us to make the most of every opportunity to be faithful witnesses of Jesus.
Today let’s remember those who, like Antipas, remained faithful, even at the cost of their lives. And let us pray for the safety of all believers who serve where Satan has power over many of the local leaders and citizens.
Thank you, Lord, for being close to your people in places where Satan has strongholds. Thank you for their loyalty to you and their witness to us. Amen.
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