Thought for the Month

Be faithful till death, and I will give you the crown of life. (Rev.2:10 NEB)

It is now 200 years since Queen Victoria was born on 24 May 1819. Little would her grandfather George III have thought in 1767 when his fifth child and fourth son was born that this son would produce a daughter who would wear the crown in her own right. A crown means more than just a large piece of jewellery. It also signifies royal authority and authority is not given to children but adults of age. Therefore the 1830 Regency Act was passed following the death of two of her father’s elder brothers so that her mother, the Duchess of Kent would be Regent till she reached her majority at 1837. William IV died when Victoria was just days after her coming of age and was able to pass on the royal authority directly to his niece. She was crowned on 28 June 1838.

The New Testament talks about the overcoming church members being given a crown. The apostle James (1:12) writes of the promises of a "crown of life" to those remaining faithful under trials, which is almost identical to the revelator John’s words. Paul calls it "a crown of righteousness" when writing his second letter to Timothy (4:8) having kept the faith. Peter (1 Pet.5:4) talks about receiving "a crown of glory" or honour.

In biblical times authority resided with a king and occasionally a queen. But that was not always so. Authority was also implied in those times to shepherds. Peter in the same verse talks of Christ in his second advent as the "chief Shepherd". In Zechariah it is possible to construe the use of the word shepherd to mean ruler such as King Nebuchadnezzar.

Jesus is the ultimate king with a crown, crowned with glory and honour. Ezekiel (21:26‑27) talks of him as one who would be coming whose right it would be. That right and authority would increase during his first advent having overcome sin on earth and conquered. Rather like a goal and win at an away football match is esteemed a greater achievement than a home fixture. Jesus was the ultimate overcomer.

Suffering was one way in which he overcame. It is still one way to overcome as the poem is titled ‘No cross, no crown’. William Penn the protestant reformer wrote his book of the same title while imprisoned in the Tower of London for his beliefs in the 17th Century.

There is a word of caution given by John (Rev.3:11 NKJV) to "hold fast...that no one may take your crown". The overcomer must be "faithful unto death".