In Revelation 3, we read about the church in Laodicea. A famous line that is sometimes taught is this one in 3:15-16. With insights from my professors Greg Stevenson, Rick Oster, and Dave Bland I want to address this passage in a way that provides understanding and stays true to the way Jesus communicates in the 7 letters to the churches in Revelation. Often, Jesus will use well known things about the city to call the churches back to spiritual fervor and obedience. So, I suspect that is what is happening in this verse:
15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
There are three basic interpretations of this passage.
Given the great lengths the city explored to pipe water from Hierapolis and Colosse, I seem to think the ideas expressed in options 2 an 3 fit the idea that Jesus wanted to convey. In the ancient world, lukewarm water was known for one primary purpose which was to induce vomiting in the sick. Could it be that the church of Laodicea is making Jesus sick by their lack of usefulness, there lukewarm state, and his only course of action is to do with them the only thing they are good for — vomit them out? I have included a few pictures from the cities discussed here, I hope they help you see the picture that Jesus through John is trying to show the church.
I want to share thoughts, insights, and scriptures that lead us in the direction of Christ.