I have wanted to visit Ephesus for a long time, for many reasons. It is a popular tourist attraction, an ancient Greek and Roman city in Muslim Turkey. It has a well-preserved library and theatre. Paul lived in Ephesus for some time. One of his letter to the Christians in Corinth, which was included in the New Testaments as I Corinthians, was believed to be written in Ephesus. Paul also wrote a letter to the Christians in Ephesus, probably while he was in Rome, and the letter was included in the New Testaments.
Ephesus was famous for a temple dedicated to Artemis, a daughter of Zeus and twin sister of Apollo. Her Roman equivalent is Diana. Many artisans made a living making silver shrines of Artemis at the time. Because Paul was so successful preaching the Gospel in Ephesus, the artisans felt their livelihood were threatened and became very upset. They seized Paul’s traveling companions and rushed into the theatre. Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him. Perhaps the theatre that is still standing today is where this great commotion took place?
Ephesus was evidently quite prosperous for hundreds of years. The people who lived, built and worshiped there probably did not anticipate that one day the good times would stop. But they did stop. Ephesus has been abandoned for more than a thousand years. Many people come to stare at the ruins and try to imagine what it was like. Some are intrigued by objects such as the ancient toilets. Many want to preserve and perhaps even restore some of the old buildings. But no one is talking about rebuilding the city and living there again.
Would the same fate happen to some of the great cities today?