Each letter is a miniature Christology. For Laodicea, Christ is:
the Amen, the trustworthy, the true witness, the Principle of God’s creation
This sounds enormously like the gospel of John’s logos which in turn sounds an awful lot like the Sophia of the Proverbs.
These are all amazing titles. But they all sound remote. Wisdom. Truth. True Witness. Logos. The Word. God’s blueprint for the cosmos — looks to me like the construction workers reading the engineering specs upside down.
This sounds like a God for intellectuals. A God for folks for who getting all your notional ducks in a row before you act is the be all and end all. In other words, this is a God for folks like me. And from raw experience, I have learned one of the character flaws in folks who value wisdom over all else, is good old analysis paralysis. Hold off deciding, hold of acting until just one more fact comes it but all the facts are never in. Life goes on and the facts pile up. Need to be arranged. Placed in their cubbies. Examined like precious gemstones. You are neither hot nor cold, but only lukewarm.
It really is easier to point a finger outward than into the mirror.
Of such folks Christ says, buy from me the gold that has been tested in the fire to make you truly rich, and white robes to clothe you and hide your shameful nakedness, and ointment to put on your eyes to enable you to see . Those facts are not the fine gold we think they are. And the intellectualism we hide behind doesn’t really hide our nakedness. And our kind of wisdom doesn’t necessarily help us see any further.
Christ changes by the end of this letter. I am standing at the door, knocking. If one of you hears me calling and opens the door, I will come in to share a meal at that person’s side.
This is no longer the abstract First Principle. This is a God who is for us and with us. A God of relations and relationships. A God who meets us not in facts and figures but in warm moments shared.
Knowledge — in this life is about control. Promises of power here are to those who prove victorious.
Anyone who proves victorious I will allow to share my throne, just as I have myself overcome and have my seat with my Father on his throne.
Power is firstly shared, a power with God and not a power over God. And not, as in the threats, God’s power over us. And it flows from the quality of our relationship to Christ. And it is founded on our ability to resist the worst aspects of our greatest strengths.