Summary of passage: To the church in Laodicea Jesus says he knows the church’s deeds which are only lukewarm or mediocre. They believe they are rich and have everything they need, but they are poor and lacking in God. He wants them to see their spiritual blindness, become righteous, and obtain his riches.
10) Personal Question. My answer: “The words of the Amen” which is the complete and wholeness and final word. It is done. Jesus is the finisher.
11) They are neither hot nor cold. He wishes they were one or the other and he spits them out of his mouth.
12a) They think they are rich and don’t need a thing. Jesus says they are poor, wretched, pitiful, blind and naked.
b) They think they are rich and don’t need a thing (including God). God reprimands them because although they aren’t bad, they aren’t good. They are indifferent and complacent in their works. They can do better and should do better for God. Either do it whole-heartedly or not at all God is saying here.
c) Part-personal question. My answer: Through prayer. I think most people do know in their hearts if they are not on God’s path. If not, ask God to show you. Not sure myself where I am struggling. I know I’m a bit clouded cause I’ve been a bit depressed lately due to the failure of my writings. I have been praying nothing specific, just “Lord, you know what ails me. Heal me.”
Conclusions: I like how Jesus speaks to people who aren’t using their full potential for him and are just doing enough to get by. I see this in our young people today. God wants your all, your best, 100%. If your heart is not in it, why do it?
End Notes: Laodicea is the last stop for our messenger. Like the other cities, Laodicea was an important commercial and trading town. It’s name means “rule of the people”. It was well off and held a good number of Jews. However, Roman temples abounded to Caesar, Asklepios, and others. Laodicea was wealthy enough to rebuild after an earthquake in 60 AD. History with pictures of ruins HERE
Laodicea had no significant water supply. Water traveled on an aqueduct from a hot springs via Hierapolis and it arrived lukewarm or it traveled from Collasae where the water was cold but it still arrived lukewarm. Hence, Laodicea was vulnerable to attack and siege and often negotiated with invaders rather than face death from lack of water.
Paul mentions Laodicea in Colossians 2:1 and 4:16. It is also the only church Jesus addresses the people (Laodiceans) instead of the city (e.g. Ephesus). However, some translations have Laodicea only.
Laodicea is also the only church Christ did not praise for anything! He only condemns. How tragic!
Lukewarm is apathy, indifference, complacency, and even uselessness–never giving their hearts fully over to Jesus. Results: unhappiness in world and in heaven. Lukewarmness is comfortable; God wants us outside our comfort zone.
Jesus wants you hot for him or cold so you’d be more likely to turn to him (cold is also refreshing like ice water on a hot, summer day). If you are lukewarm, it’s harder to reach you because you have a bit of him already and think that’s enough. You are useless in the sense that you’re not doing enough and don’t care enough to bring others to him. Spurgeon has great commentary on the idea of lukewarmness to God.
We are in Jesus’ mouth as he prays for us and we spread his word. “Spit you out of my mouth” does not mean they will be kicked out of the kingdom. What it means is that the people are in danger of being far from him and his presence.
Laodicea was famous for healing and textiles. Yet the people were blind and naked.
They had the opposite problem of Smyrna who thought they were poor but were rich. Very similar to the church at Sardis.
Jesus tells them to heal their eyes so they can see their spiritual blindness. He wanted them to buy his gold (his riches–spiritual not material) and his righteous garments (white clothes).
Literally: Gold is Laodicea’s financial wealth. Clothes is the textile industry Laodicea is known for. Eye salve is another product Laodiceans were known for. Jesus knows all!
Map of Laodicea, showing its proximity to Hierapolis, a town with hot springs and its main water supplier and Colossae, a town with cold springs: http://www.padfield.com/2005/images/laodicea-map.gif
My Favorite Map of Region with Laodicea: https://bleon1.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/38-seven-churches-of-asia.png