The significance of Ephesus is that she is the first century church. She was doing almost everything right. You could say that she was in the spring of the church, living in intimate fellowship with her Lord. And yet, even there the seeds were being sown that led to the church's fall from the faith. Within 250 short years they had fallen so far from the original faith, that there was very little left in the church of the teaching and practice given by the apostles.
From being a vibrant and lovely woman, deeply in love with her Lord, capable to turning the Roman empire upside down within a few short decades, by the year 313 she had became a rigid, stiff and dead institution. The lively church meetings, characterized by the participation of every person present, with each and every one serving, teaching and giving to each other, were overtaken and replaced with stiff formal services, led by authoritarian professionals.
To Order Ephesus:
Well, we'll all just have to be patient and wait for it to be finished, eh?
As you can see, this painting isn't finished yet. The black and white areas are still to be painted in color. I have been trying out a painting method I am learning from Alexei Anatov, who researched the work of the Dutch Masters. I don't claim such quality for my work, but have simply been trying out new methods.
This is a painting in oil with many thin layers, first in burnt umber and white - three layers, then repainted in black and white - 2 layers, and then in color.
Alexei Anatov's work can be seen at www.artpapa.com
This painting is an attempt to portray the moment when the beautiful first century church first began to be drawn away from the simplicity of devotion to Christ. That moment when she began to yearn back to the time before she met the Lord. She remembers that she was at that time taken seriously by the world and it's philosophers. "The Greeks seek after wisdom," wrote Paul.
The woman is sitting in the spring of the church at the table of fellowship with the Lord, and yet ... she is bored. She is distracted. She is yearning back to the time when she was considered wise in the eyes of the world, when she was still sophisticated.
Jesus said about Ephesus, "But I have this against you, that you have left your first love." These are the words written in Hebrew in the border. In itself the Hebrew words are a message. We must leave once again the love of Greek wisdom and return to original faith of Israel, a faith characterized by the simplicity and fervency of our love for Jesus our Messiah.
The point where we first went wrong is the point to which we must return. We must go back to the table of fellowship with the Lord and determine once and for all that we care nothing for the approval and methods of the world.
All we need, all we want, all we see ... is Jesus.