Temple of Artemis (Bible Study Delayed to Jan 27)
"Humble yourselves, therefore under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you." - 1 Peter 5:6 ESV
As our bible study is being delayed due to the pandemic and the current lockdown in Ontario, I thought I would give historical glimpses into the city of Ephesus. The very city that Paul walked into on his second missionary journey, where he would have found a city that was already beginning to decline.
However, in the heart of the city was still the Temple of Artemis, one of the ancient seven wonders of the world, and was built in 550 BC, in dedication to the Greek goddess Artemis. If you know your Greek mythology, Artemis was the daughter of Zeus and Leto, and the twin sister of Apollo. But if you are more of a comic book fan, she is a fictional Amazon superhero in the Wonder Woman series published by DC comics. (I'll let you choose which Artemis you like best.)
In the book of Acts, we see that Paul spent some time in the city of Ephesus, where he found a congregation of believers who never discovered the Holy Spirit. After laying hands on them, they received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and "began speaking in tongues and prophesying." (Acts 19:6) He then proceeding to speak boldly in the synagogue for months, until he had to withdraw.
The events after all of this changed the city of Ephesus forever. "God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul," (Acts 19:11) and over time, people were converted to Christianity. Some historians say that Ephesus was already on the decline when Paul arrived, due to the expansion of the Roman Empire, but if you take a moment to study the 19th chapter of Acts, you will see that the city valued their temple and the goddess Artemis so much, that Paul gave this declining city a push towards devastation.
Ephesus refused to change and because it did not, it is now merely a tourist attraction where people can see ruins. The reality is, no one likes change, unless it is change we can control and as believers in Christ, only one is in control. Today, we can be like the city of Ephesus, and become people of the past, where tourist come and go, talking about what was, or we can humble ourselves, allowing God to be in control, so that under His mighty hand, He will lift you up.