“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life“
Be faithful until death
The New Testament uses “faithful” of God (1 Corinthians 1:9; 10:13; 2 Corinthians 1:18; 2 Timothy 2:13; Hebrews 10:23; 11:11; 1 Peter 4:19; 1 John 1:9) and of believers who are disposed to believe God.
“And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2)
Jesus asks His followers to remain faithful even to the point of death.
and I will give you the crown of life
The “crown” here is the victor’s crown. Usually, this was a wreath consisting of foliage or precious metals (resembling foliage) worn as a symbol of honor and victory. This crown was a symbol of triumph in athletic contests (1 Corinthians 9:25; 2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 5:4). It is a token of public honor for distinguished achievement.
The Christian’s prize consists of “life.” He will have a crown consisting of life. Persecutors may take the lives of believers at Smyrna, but Jesus will give them life. Their enemies take their temporal life, but Jesus gives them eternal life (Revelation 20:15).
In 155 A.D., the Roman government martyred Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna. He personally knew the apostle John. They burned him at the stake for his stand for Christ. He refused to affirm that “Caesar is Lord.” At his death, he gave testimony to his trust in Christ.
Note the promise– ”I will give.” We derive assurance from this. If Jesus said it, He is able to deliver it. The Devil will not be able to wrench it out of His hand (John 10:29,30).
The Christian is to aim for a badge of distinguished service for the Lord.
Some Christians will wear a badge of distinction in God’s eyes. Will God look at you as a Christian who outstandingly executed the Christian life?
“Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Hebrews 12:11).