Know Who Opposes You (Part 1)
“But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality (Revelation 2:20-21).”
In sports, having a good scouting report can make a significant difference. It can shape our strategy and keep us from falling into traps. What is true in sports is true in life on its broadest scale. If we are to live life well, we need to know who opposes us. Today and tomorrow we will look with a wide-angle lens at what the book of Revelation tells us concerning our opponents.
The book of Revelation presents these opponents with vivid images, and it makes sure we see our enemies outside and inside the visible church. Tomorrow we will take a brief glance at those outside the church, but here in the text above, we hear the words of Jesus spoken to the church in the city of Thyatira.
With strong language, Jesus reveals what he has against this congregation - namely their tolerance for Jezebel. This was almost certainly not her real name; the title likens her to the wicked wife of Ahab mentioned in 1 Kings.
The combination of sexual immorality and food sacrificed to idols likely points to the trade-guild banquets held in honor of the god associated with the guild. To keep yourself from such events would mean not merely loss of social acceptance but also loss of economic opportunities. This woman who called herself a prophetess found a way to fit in with the world and still be a part of the church. It was discipleship without a cost.
We don’t have trade-guild banquets with patron deities, but it is not too difficult to think of places where we might gain acceptance and even financial success if only we sidestepped the boundaries of the narrow road of which Jesus spoke. If we think that all that opposes us stands outside the walls of the visible church, we will be fooled by the likes of modern day Jezebels who are calling us to compromise for the sake of success in the eyes of the world.