3D Devotional 6.24.2019

Monday, June 24, 2019   The city of Ephesus during Paul’s Days        Acts 19:23-31

At this time, last year, Barbara and I celebrated our 35th anniversary with a cruise to the Greek isles.  One of our excursions took us to the ancient city of Ephesus.     Today’s 3D will explore the history of Ephesus during biblical times.   I have also included a few photos from our trip.
In ancient times, Ephesus was a port city and the intersection of four great trade routes that connected Rome to Asia.  Over time, river silt clogged access to the sea.  Today, the ancient city is an amazing 3 miles inland.  By the time of Paul, Ephesus had become enormously wealthy due to its harbor and trade status and location to Asia Minor. It boasted a number of major public buildings, including libraries and theaters in 3 BC.   It is estimated that that over 300,000 people lived in the city.

The main street was made of marble and 100 ft. wide, flanked by rows of granite columns 50 feet tall.  The street was lined with shops and roadway was lit by oil lanterns. The Celsus Library was built in 135 A.D.  At one time, it housed over 12,000 rolls of parchment documents.

The city was also the home of the Ephesian temple of Artemis.  It was lauded as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and was already then a significant source of income.   Today’s 3D Devotion is a story about the riot Paul’s new religion caused when Christianity collided with their worship of pagan idols.   Our story comes from Acts 19:23-31.

3D Devotional Scripture - 23 About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. 24 A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in a lot of business for the craftsmen there. 25 He called them together, along with the workers in related trades, and said: “You know, my friends, that we receive a good income from this business. 26 And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands are no gods at all. 27 There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited; and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty.”
28 When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia, and all of them rushed into the theater together. 30 Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him. 31 Even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him not to venture into the theater.

3D Devotional Interpretation - Paul wanted to face the crowd but disciples would not let him. Finally, the city clerk announced that the courts were open for people who had a complaint and dispersed the crowd. After this event Paul left Ephesus and went to Macedonia. Ephesus continued to be the center of Christianity.  During his travels, Paul wrote the letters that became the Book of Ephesians.   His close friend Timothy remained in Ephesus and received letters from Paul while he was imprisoned in Rome.  These letters became 1st and 2nd Timothy.

The photo is of the theater that is mentioned in the bible.  It held 25,000 spectators.    There  is one surviving gold statues of Artemis mentioned in the scripture.

Walking the streets once traveled by Paul and his followers was a unique experience for Barbara and I that we will always cherish.
Mark Condra
Lay Leader

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