You can’t help but compare Ephesus to Manhattan—cultural center, sporting hub, beautiful architecture, crowded markets (in both senses of the word)…it was the most cosmopolitan city in Rome, the gateway to the Empire. The church in Ephesus was equally spectacular—founded by Paul, pastored by (first) Timothy (til he was murdered by the Romans), then John (the beloved disciple), home church to Jesus’ mother Mary, Priscilla and Aquila, and the headquarters for Apollos (the first famed apologeticist).
I wish I lived there.
These days Ephesus looks like a big, crappy ditch. Everything is mucked up and trudged over, broken and indistinct. I guess that proves Christ was telling the truth, “if you don’t repent, I will remove your lampstand.” Well—as Tom Wright pointed out, there’s neither a lampstand (church) or pretty much of anything left standing.
Or was it?
What really was the lesson about losing your ‘first love?’
Lots and lots and lots and lots of biblical commentators suggest that the loss of first love was closely connected to the Ephesian commendation. The church was commended for their ability to discern truth from falsehood. They were heresy-hunters, BS-sniffer-out-ers, the officers of orthodoxy. By all accounts, it was their love for being right doctrinally that caused them to be so very wrong socially. They hurt The Truth in their quest for truth.
Good thing no one does that anymore.
Thank God we’ve learned from their mistakes.