devotion 12-7-15

Acts 19:1-10

Paul in Ephesus

While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the inland regions and came to Ephesus, where he found some disciples. 2He said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?’ They replied, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.’ 3Then he said, ‘Into what then were you baptized?’ They answered, ‘Into John’s baptism.’ 4Paul said, ‘John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.’ 5On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied— 7altogether there were about twelve of them.

8 He entered the synagogue and for three months spoke out boldly, and argued persuasively about the kingdom of God. 9When some stubbornly refused to believe and spoke evil of the Way before the congregation, he left them, taking the disciples with him, and argued daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord.

Paul and Silas had been traveling through Macedonia (Greece) on what we call Paul’s second missionary journey. Paul had been imprisoned in Philippi, and thrown out of Thessalonika and Berea. He spent some time in Athens and stayed 18 months in Corinth. Now he crosses back over to what was then Asia Minor, to the town of Ephesus.

In Ephesus, Paul spoke in the synagogue for 3 months, and then, when the leaders spoke badly of him and his teachings, he rented a lecture hall and continued to hold meetings. Paul remained there in Ephesus for two years, preaching the word and organizing a church.

In Paul’s day, Ephesus was a major seaport city. A broad boulevard stretched from the great theater directly to the port. It was paved in marble and lined with columns. (photos attached) But today the harbor has silted in and is no longer navigable even to small boats. Our great ship had to anchor at a port some distance away, and we traveled by bus to Ephesus. There, the ruins of the great city lay over hill and valley for acres and acres. We could see what a beautiful city it had been. There were homes and temples and public buildings. The great Library of Celsus was built in 135 AD, well after Paul’s time. The facade was pieced together and erected by archeologists in the 1970’s. The tall structure in the photos is the library; there are also photos of the column lined streets and one of a wealthy person’s home. Enjoy!

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