I think I have left you with enough mystery to explore with Ephesus and it’s time to look at Smyrna. 😊
Remember, in Ephesus you are His beloved and now, in Smyrna He sees you as a delightful fragrance. You know how we all put on perfumes and aftershaves so that we smell attractive to those around us. In the same way we have a fragrance about us that is pleasing to the Lord. Smyrna means myrrh which has quite a strong fragrance. It is also one of the gifts the Magi presented to the Lord.
Before we go deeper into the letter to Smyrna, we will take a little trip down the spice road and talk about myrrh. And here is my first shock! I had been taught, and just accepted it as truth, that myrrh was always associated with suffering in Scripture. I was about to write that when the Holy Spirit prompted me to go and look. Well, well, well, I did not find one Scripture where it was associated with suffering, death, or embalming! Not even on Google! Throughout history it has been used for perfume, incense, and medicine.
In fact, the first time it is mentioned it was a trading commodity. Interestingly, its last mention is also that of a trading commodity. In other words, it has financial value and is a sought-after commodity. Secondly, it was used as a gift of honour. Jacob sent myrrh to Pharaoh. The Magi brought it as a gift to Jesus and Nicodemus gave Jesus a mixture of myrrh and aloes as a gift. It was used as a beauty treatment for women and then all the other times it was used for intimacy – like a love potion! 😊
Myrrh, just like frankincense, is produced by trees. Um, remember the tree of life? It is a resin that the tree produces from a “bleeding” wound. People wound the tree so that it “bleeds” and then the tree produces the resin to stop the bleeding. This resin is called myrrh. The myrrh collected as a result of the bleeding is then used for perfume, incense and medicine. It is here, in this picture of the tree that we see suffering. Smyrna is associated with suffering, but it is the resultant perfume that Jesus is focusing on.
This picture is actually quite fantastic. Jesus says to Smyrna that He is aware of the painful suffering that they are going through. As a result, they consider themselves poor and hard done by because they don’t look “powerful and prosperous!” What they have forgotten is that their true wealth is not in their suffering but in the sweet fragrance they release that is of such great value.
There is tremendous eternal value in suffering. While none of us like to suffer, it is the very thing that produces the greatest rewards. Jesus understood this better than anyone.
Hebrews 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God.
Romans 5:3 Not only so but we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character hope.
Perseverance, character, and hope are the trading commodities of heaven and they have great value in the kingdom which is eternal. These may not seem to be of much value to the world, however, the world is passing away and all that remains are the things that have value in heaven.
Romans 8:17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory.
Now, if you are suffering in any area of your life, use it to your advantage. In the midst of your suffering remain faithful in your relationship with the Lord and allow it to produce in you a godly character, one of righteousness, joy and peace, and keep the hope of your eternal rewards alive within your heart.
Be strong! 💪💥
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