Come and Dine
The second promise to overcomers is provided to the church at Ephesus…Let’s consider it.
Some people can be rightly called “food lovers.” Growing up in a Baptist church, we’ve had our fair share of casseroles and manna (this word literally means, “What is it?!”). For Anthony Bourdain, food was a major component of his life. Bourdain is credited with saying, “Food may not be the answer to world peace, but it’s a start!” I’m not sure who said it first, but eating in a fine-dining restaurant is as close as some of us will ever be to living like royalty in this lifetime.
I remember once (key word, once!) going to a nice, fancy restaurant with my wife. We dressed up for the occasion. This place wasn’t in our comfort zone but some friends had given us a $100 gift card. We were beyond ecstatic, to say the least.
I recall looking around the restaurant at some of the high society in Hollywood, CA. Some of these people made in a month what I would make in a year! Yet, there was that moment of satisfaction when the maître d’ called for Monsieur Lester, and said those magic words: “Your table is ready, sir.”
To this day, I think I had the best rib-eye of my life in that steakhouse. The sides were perfect; the dessert was also a nice finishing touch to a great time. At the end, I presented the gift card to our attendant. She came back and asked which card I wanted to use for the remaining $75! (That’s right…a once-in-a-lifetime experience…two people for almost $200 – did I say it was good, though!?)
God invites us to His “table of grace.” The food is always ready in His eternal kingdom! What’s on the menu? I’m glad you asked! As we consider God’s promises to overcomers, hear the words in Revelation 2.7:
…To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
This city had a rich heritage in the New Testament. Paul wrote an epistle to the church (Ephesians) as well as two letters to its pastor (1-2 Timothy). Later, John served here as well. His gospel, epistles and Revelation were either written from Ephesus or to Ephesus.
From a historical perspective, it could be argued that it was the most important city of Asia Minor. Early geographers such as Strabo recognized the city as the largest commercial center west of the Taurus.
From a religious perspective, the Ephesians were devoted to magic (see Luke’s description in Acts 19). Additionally, the city housed one of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World – the temple of Artemis / Diana.That Christianity was viewed as a threat to the guild of idol makers is evident from reading the account of Paul’s visit there. The place was in “an uproar.”
From an economical perspective, the city was wealthy, demonstrated by archaeology uncovering houses with heated bathrooms. The area was also known as the trade and banking center for that part of the Empire.
From a moral perspective, the city was filled with idolatry, prostitution, and gambling. While it may have been rich monetarily, the city was bankrupt morally.
Within this context, Christ sends a message to this church. He knows their works; He knows their world. In the midst of their situation, He comes through with a promise: access to the tree of life. We’ll unpack His message to this church in the next post.
Just joining us on the journey? Follow the links below to see the previous posts. (To minimize the number of links, I’ve only added the first part of each section.)