Christian Living

Spiritual Life

God, Our Photographer

"I know your works ..." Revelation 2:2

Google Earth is amazing. I can’t think of a better way to waste time. Who doesn’t enjoy taking a few hours to look for creepy abnormalities around our planet? We’re talking shipwrecks, remote pyramids, and some hair-raising things you can discover for yourself.

Google Earth Street View came along in 2008 and took things to the next level. This sophisticated technology provides 360-degree, panoramic, street-level views, allowing users to see everything at ground level. Looking to plan a date? Scope out restaurants as if you were in front of them. Google gets its 3D images from the cameras they mount on the Google car. It drives up and down its route, scanning, measuring, and taking pictures. It has an intimate knowledge of the whole world.

In Revelation 2:2, Jesus tells the church in Ephesus something intimate — Google Street View intimate. He says, “I know your works” (Oida ta erga sou). Four words that don’t seem like much, but in the Greek, they are. The first thing to note is that Jesus uses the word oida. It’s intimate knowledge from being up close and personal. This knowledge isn’t hazy on the details. It’s sharp and clear, like a well-taken photograph.

Next, we find oida in a tense that expresses a past event that has present consequences. In other words, Christ’s comprehensive and photographic knowledge of the church in Ephesus is the result of His previous action — walking among them and being in their presence (verse 2:1b). Like a Google car with a highly sophisticated camera mounted on top, Jesus moved up and down the church in Ephesus, recording every fine detail. He logged their activity as a congregation and as individuals. This means He saw the good, the bad, and the ugly, just as Google Earth captures the beauty of the terrain in places mankind has never set foot, but also captures men coming out of unsavory clubs and people brawling on the street.

The Ephesians would have had mixed feelings about this. On one hand, they would have felt vindicated: all of their unnoticed good works had been recorded by the One who gives out the eternal rewards. On the other hand, everything they thought they had gotten away with had also been seen by the same judge. Christ wants us to know that intimacy with Him comes with His knowledge of everything we do. He won’t overlook anything we do in service to Him but He won’t turn a blind eye to those things that displease Him. This is what Proverbs 15:3 tells us:

"The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good."

In light of this, remember that Christ is driving up and down your life, measuring, scanning, and collecting data. If someone has unjustly accused you of something, don’t fret — it’s on film in God’s archives. If you’ve been serving your church and are feeling down because nobody has commended you, rejoice. God saw it. And if you’ve done something you shouldn’t have, God’s mercy is drawing you to repent. Instead of running or hiding, why not use this moment to receive God’s grace and forgiveness? It’s a new day to start fresh.

Dear Lord, I know that You see all and know all about my life; nothing escapes Your sight. May everything You see me do this week bring You glory.

This devotion is an adaptation from Chris Palmer's book, Letters From Jesus: Studies from the Seven Churches of Revelation, © 2019, used with permission.

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