Paul was here May 6, 2016
We spent the majority of our day touring the ancient city of Ephesus. Our guide led us through the history of Ephesus and how over the years there have been at least four different locations of the city. It was also believed that since John was from this area, he took Mary (mother of Jesus) there following the crucifixion. Although it was mostly a pagan city at that time, she spent her last days living just outside the city walls up a nearby hill that looked out to the Aegean Sea.
Upon arrival, we first looked around what appeared to be a small amphitheater, but turned out to be a type of senate building. They still use this today for concerts and special events. We then walked down a marble street. At the bottom of this small hill we went inside a relatively new archeological dig showing the remnants of a wealthy part of town where the residents had amazing houses. This is an active dig site so they have covered it to protect from the harsh Turkey sun and rain. Since beginning our tours we’ve seen where business’s or wealthy family’s have donated considerable sums of money in order to preserve some of these ancient finds.
On the way to the coliseum of Ephesus, we passed what must have been an elaborate library (Briggs would’ve loved this place), eventually making it to the coliseum. We learned that it was a Greco-Roman build by how it was laid out. We also toured where the lions use to be caged. We were at this location for over three hours and it seemed like minutes. I was amazed at not only the architecture, but how the Romans engineered it to bring water to the buildings (and sewage treatment too).
From Ephesus we went to the church of St. John. This was the location of his remains until it was looted by marauders. As we walked around the ruins, we saw where they used to hold baptisms.
Upon arriving back at our hotel, we took another long walk along the water front and stopped for a cup of turkish coffee, (also known as “mud” or as Charlie Ryan puts it, “Good Navy coffee”)
As we stood in the coliseum of Ephesus, our resident mountain goat, (aka Kim) ran up several flights of stairs to test the acoustics. This coliseum sat around 25,000. We were surprised that even at a high distance above the floor, we were able to talk and Kim could still hear us. What would it been like to have Paul teach in that arena? Apparently, he wasn’t received real well, but did much of his work in small groups just down the road toward the sea. He not only taught in these settings, but built significant relationships with the people. It was the beginning of the Church at Ephesus. His letter to this church was one that impacted not only this place, but was received by the churches all through this area. Just think, Paul was here, he taught, he built relationships, and people’s lives were changed through the message he shared. Might we learn something from his approach?