Wake up!

Rev. 3
Sardis is located in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). It was also built into a cliff forming an impenetrable citadel for protection. In the ancient world, the people of Sardis bragged that they could never be conquered. No army could scale its cliffs and walls. The people of Sardis were completely “safe”.

Around the 6th Century BC, the powerful Persian Empire went to war with Sardis. The Persians attempted to destroy the city, but could not even make a dent in its defenses. Tradition has it, one day a Persian scout saw a Sardis guard drop his helmet from the high walls. A short time later the scout saw the guard emerge from a crevice in the bottom of the cliff and retrieve the helmet. The scout realized that there was a hole in the wall, and a secret passageway into the city.

That night, the scout led a group of soldiers into the crevice and up the wall. They found the battlements abandoned, for the Sardis guards were all sleeping, trusting that their walls would keep them completely safe. The Persian force swept through the city and opened the gates to allow their main force in. Sardis was destroyed. The guards were caught sleeping, and the enemy brought destruction.

This sounds like a silly mistake for the people of Sardis to make, but they had become complacent, and dependent on their walls for protection. The crazy thing is, about two hundred years later, the Greeks led by Alex the Great; conquer Sardis in the same way. The climbed up the crevice and found the guards sleeping. History repeated itself.

So John is writing a letter to the church in Sardis (Rev. 3:1-6), and he has this message for them, “Wake up!” It would have been a loaded statement. He said, “I know your deeds, you have a reputation for being alive, but you are dead. Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die.”

For the people of Sardis, they would have taken this message quite personally; they knew the history of their city. When you fall asleep, the enemy comes in and destroys. John warns them that spiritually, they have fallen asleep.

When we understand this passage, we take to heart the warning of John. Wake up!
For when we fall asleep, then enemy comes in to destroy us.

In what ways have you fallen asleep? In what ways have you become complacent?


  1. I think it is important when reading the New Testament letters, especially in the case of John's Revelation, that these books were written at a certain time period to a certain group of people. I think Jared's post does a really good job reminding us that this letter, and this passage written to the church at Sardis, is loaded with meaning that can only be understood if one knows something about the time period and the audience that is being written to. Therefore, I think that as our church goes through this book, it is vital to read this letter, as best as we can, through the eyes of someone in first century Mediterranean area, knowing that Christians were facing persecution and oppressive systems of government. This might help us in understanding some of the images that John uses to explain what he saw in his vision. I'm excited to hear everyone's interpretations as well as our team of pastor's and their insight into God's word.
    Sorry for rambling. :)

  2. Come on... it's summer! Great stuff Jared!