in the old King James, Jesus offers to come and sup with whomever opens the door to His knocking. This verse always seemed to be in the wrong book. It doesn’t feel like a verse out of Revelation, but here it is, in the letter to the Laodiceans, a town that has done very well thank you very much. They have survived an earthquake and needed no outside help to recover. They were wealthy, well-to-do, and needed no handouts.
We don’t have a origin story for the church of Laodicea, like many of the churches of Revelation. There is no record of a Pauline visit or any of the other apostles making their way here. Her first mention is here. But the church ought to be very familiar to us, for it is one who has let too much of the world in. She is neither cold nor hot for the gospel, but lukewarm. Perhaps she never experienced the conflict or the persecution suffered by others. Maybe her relative wealth and lack of conflict has made for a complacent church. It would be easy to make imagined parallels here between the American Church and this one, and many have. Truth is, we just don’t enough about this church to know either way. And we ought not to compare. American churches stand before God on their own, but we ought to learn from this church, as we do the others.
That is why this simple verse is so striking. Speaking into a complacent church, with powerful warnings of removal from the body of Christ, Jesus comes back around gently. “Open the door, let me in, and we will dine together.” I’ve always read this in an individual context, but this is a message for the church as a whole. He is asking to be invited back into the Church so that He May dine with them, a strong reference to the Communion of bread and wine. Standing at the door is a subtle reference to His imminent return. Will they let Him in before it is too late? We don’t know if they did. But dare I ask, should a church neglect Communion, will they last? If they forget hat Jesus is at the door, will He stop knocking and leave?
Don’t be that church.