The messages that were sent to the seven different communities of believers detailed in Revelation 2 and 3 are remarkable. These are representative of the various types of communities of believers that have existed ever since that era. One particular message caught our attention, the words that were written to Sardis (3:1). You “have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead” – what a message! But, the message also includes, “you still have a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments (of righteousness), and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy” (verse 5). Of such, Jesus says, “I will confess his name before my father” (verse 5). What will Jesus confess? What is a name? We recall the promise God made to King David, “I will make for you a great name, like the names of the great ones of the earth” (2 Samuel 7:9). This is name in the sense of reputation or fame, as many modern versions translate it. Quite a number of Scriptures tell us how God made a name for Himself, as we will soon read in Isaiah 63:12,14.

In the light of these examples we conclude that when Jesus says of those few in Sardis that he will “confess” their “name before my father” – he means he will confess the reputation that such have made for themselves. We imagine it will be names or reputations such as “patient endurance” (Revelation 2:2) “not grown weary” (verse 3) “hold fast” (verse 25) and many other particular qualities of a Christ-like character. Such, says Jesus, I will make a pillar in the temple of my God” (3:12,21) adding, “… and I will write on him the name of my God … and my own new name … I will grant him to sit with me on my throne”.

May we all, in true humility, so live that we make a worthy reputation for ourselves in the sight of our Saviour that he will lovingly confess before his Father when he returns to this earth. At that time with what overwhelming emotion will we join in the proclamation we read of this morning, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” (4:8).