Blog 7: The message to Ephesus

Ephesus was the capital of Asia Minor, one of the most important cities in the Roman Empire. It was John’s home city prior to his exile on Patmos. The major religion there was the worship of Artemis (Diana in Latin), the goddess of fertility. Her temple was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Christians had faced opposition in Ephesus from the moment Paul arrived to preach the Gospel. It was possibly the strongest church in the Roman Empire. It had had the great privilege of being pastored by Paul, Timothy and John. Church tradition is that Mary, the mother of Jesus, and her adopted son, John, are buried there.

Jesus  knows what is happening in every church on earth; he holds every leader in His right hand. He walks among the churches. He acknowledged the hard work and perseverance of the Christians in Ephesus. They had the gift of spiritual discernment. The church had persevered through hardships for the name of Jesus and had not grown weary.

Yet their love for Jesus had diminished: for love read commitment, priority setting, respect, self-giving and exhilaration.  If they did not repent, then Jesus would remove their light. Sadly this is what happened across Asia Minor. When Jesus addressed Ephesus, this area was the centre of world Christianity, following the Jewish revolt (AD 66-73) and the mayhem inflicted by the Romans on Jerusalem. There were as many as 80,000 Christians in Asia Minor by AD 100. Yet by the beginning of the Twentieth Century there were estimated to be less than 18,000 Christians in modern Turkey: the lampstand had been removed. Ephesus today is a small village and silt has destroyed its port status; it is six miles from the sea. The lesson for us is to listen to Jesus.

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