Today's reading: Revelation 13
...So that no one can buy or sell who does not have the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. Revelation 13:17 NRSV
It is certainly fitting in this season of buying and selling to be looking at this particular verse.
We modern Christians have absolutely no idea what it was like to be a Christian in the era of the Roman Empire. In order to do business, you had to worship Caesar. You needed to be a pagan for people to buy your goods. If you were not a believer in the Roman gods, you may have trouble even buying what you needed. That is what John seems to be referring to in his vision. And the early Christians would have understood this. In those days, there was a statue to a god every few steps along the street and it would be quite obvious to the whole market if you walked through without worshipping any of them. You may not have a physical mark on your hand or forehead but it would have been quite evident that you were a Christian. Becoming and being a Christian had very clear economic consequences in those times. And all the readers of John's letter would have known this.
Where do you shop? Who do you do business with? Have you ever been refused service for any reason? Has anyone not done business with you because you are a Christian? How did that feel?
God, we are so fortunate that we don't have to be marked with the name or number of the beast to buy or sell goods. However, we do need your guidance in all our purchases and our business. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims