Bible Society of South Africa

New Beginnings: First love and first love – 28 January 2022

By Louise Gevers

Bible text(s)

2I know what you have done; I know how hard you have worked and how patient you have been. I know that you cannot tolerate evil people and that you have tested those who say they are apostles but are not, and have found out that they are liars. 3You are patient, you have suffered for my sake, and you have not given up. 4But this is what I have against you: you do not love me now as you did at first. 5Think how far you have fallen! Turn from your sins and do what you did at first. If you don't turn from your sins, I will come to you and take your lampstand from its place.

Revelation 2:2-5GNBOpen in Bible reader

The most important relationship we can have in our life is a relationship with Jesus. He is the one who died “to take away the sins of many” and “will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:28) Jesus is our great priest “who is able, now and always, to save those who come to God through him, because He lives forever to plead with God for them. Jesus then is the High Priest that meets our needs.” (Hebrews 7:25-26)

His words to the Church at Ephesus show the personal nature of the relationship He has with His people. He is aware of how they live and understands where they are in their development; He is sensitive to what they need to change and speaks directly to them, drawing their attention to their limitation, and enables us to examine our own.

When two people are mutually attracted, and fall in love with the person who will one day become their spouse, they begin to care for one another and about each other’s needs. Kindness, intimacy and commitment grow between them as they become increasingly more sensitive to each other. It happens similarly with our relationship with Jesus.

We always appreciate our spouse’s hard work, patience and ongoing care for us and our family – even when they’re tired – including the extra things they do, big or small. But what we really enjoy most is the quality time they spend with us, when they show us affection, join in our chatter and hear where we’re at. Where there is love, there is something vital about caring and communicating with each other, and being at one in heart, thought and understanding.

This is just like what Jesus’ appraisal of the church in Ephesus is about. He notices the fine quality of their work for Him, what they do in the community and for each other. He notices how they’ve even suffered for Him and endured hardships; but although there is a lot that He’s pleased with, what He is missing is their first love – the way they used to treat Him when they first met Him when He became their Saviour and Lord.

He remembers their eagerness to meet with Him often; their overflowing joy, happy singing and their making time to do those things that pleased Him, discovering more about Him each step of the way as they delighted in Him and His love for them.

Jesus had warned before He was crucified: “Because of the increase of wickedness the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Matthew 24:12-13) And so He warns them to remember where they once were, to repent and return to their first love and to make Him their first love. Consider John’s words: “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. Whoever loves his brother lives in the light.” (1 John 2:9-10) “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15)

What would Jesus say to us about our love for Him?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.” (Psalm 73:25) Amen

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