Bible Readings and Devotion for November 16, 2020
Here are the references for the readings. Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible.
Special note from Pastor David Tinker:
This past week or so my whole family and I were sick. This made it difficult to get most things done last week, including the devotions. These are back this week. Thank you for your patience and your support.
Pastor David Tinker
Devotion for November 16, 2020
By Pastor David Tinker
The last surviving of the original 12 Apostles was St. John, son of Zebedee and brother of St. James. His ministry of teaching is connected with five New Testament books: the Gospel of John, the letters of John (1 John, 2 John, and 3 John), and the Revelation. Central to all of these books is the call to love one another.
Early church history tells of the later days of John’s life. Even when he was no longer able to move well nor say very much, there was one thing he would do. He would stand up at worship, often with assistance, and remind them of their first calling. With great effort he would say one thing, “Love one another.” That was the centerpiece of his teaching. That was the New Commandment of Jesus which was noted at the Last Supper in John 13:34-35.
This core message is highlighted in today’s reading from Revelation 2. We read in verse 4, “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.” Jesus reveals to John that the church in Ephesus has neglected to love as they were shown to do in the beginning. They had been a loving community. Now, at the time of the revelation, they have put that aside for other, less faithful pursuits.
One of those pursuits is to follow the Nicolaitans. Early church history indicates that these were followers of the apostate, deacon Nicolaus (noted first in Acts 6:5). This same history notes that these Nicolaitans were people who put aside God’s way to pursue sexual immorality and overtly chose to eat meat which had been sacrificed to pagan idols (aligning oneself with the pagan beliefs). Neither of these practices were ways to show love for one another.
In our lives we sometimes neglect or abandon the core expressions of our faith. St. John and Jesus are reminding us even today that we need to get back to the core of our faith life. An essential response to what Jesus has done for us is to strive to love one another in the community of faith. This will look different for every relationship in our lives. What matters is that we give of ourselves sacrificially to encourage, help, and build up each other in godly ways. By the guidance of the Word and the Holy Spirit, we get to return to our primary love, our love for one another.
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work or watch or weep, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, comfort the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen