After visiting Athens, we went to Ephesus, Turkey. I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect much but we got a whole lot more! I thought we’d just walk around some ruins — and we did! But it was a fascinating place.
Before we went I re-read a lot about Ephesus from the New Testament (I did this for Athens also). Reading Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians was a decent place to start since he wrote it to the Christians living in this ancient city.
But I also read through the last half of the Book of Acts looking for more references to Ephesus. Soon I remembered that Paul lived there for three years and the early church thrived there. In fact, it was doing so well that there was an uprising among the local idol-selling merchants. We walked along the streets that these merchants probably sold their stuff and we went to the Theater where the mayor of Ephesus had to step in to calm the riot down (see Acts 19).
Speaking of Christians in Ephesus, you have to remember that they weren’t called Christians yet and they usually didn’t meet publicly. One way they would let travelers know they were around (or where they would meet), they used a symbol called an Ichthys. What I didn’t know was that they didn’t always use the fish but this wheel. In the wheel one can find the Greek letters I X O Y and E which, in Greek, was an acronym translated into English: “Jesus Christ God’s Son is Savior”.
Walking around this city, the highlights for me were the Celsus Library (my photo, wikipedia) and the Theater that holds about 44,000. Going into the Theater was amazing. Remembering the riot, imagining all the business, preaching, and entertainment that went on there…very cool.