New Testament Journey

I grew up reading the stories of the followers of Jesus treking across the Roman Empire from Israel to Rome and places in between like Ephesus and Athens.  Have you ever wanted to walk in their shoes?  Wished to learn what life was like then?  There must be more to their stories than we know. Should I write about them? All fanciful conjecture I suppose but the journies of Paul the Apostle have come to life, a little, during a once in a lifetime trip.

Our duties in Tbilisi are really completed.  We needed to be away for a week or so to let our successors run the place without us there.  Being in the ‘neighborhood’ so to speak we flew to Istanbul and began a journey of discovery.

Ephesus

They drop you off at the top of the hill, near where the rich people lived, and you walk down the main street: past the agora (market place), the library and finally the amphitheater.  Much lies in ruins but the facade of the Library of Celsus (above) has been restored upright for photo ops and the amphitheater, made of solid stone seats, could not fall down in an earthquake I believe.

Who lived there?  Slave and free; rich and poor; seamen and landsmen; artisens and farmers; worshipers of Goddess Artemis (Diana) and followers of Jesus. I speak to a stone hewn square and plumb and placed in a wall by a mason long dead.  Tell me his story. What was his name I ask? Did he have a family? Was he a slave? How many years of toil lead to this craftsmanship?

Athens

The Parthenon high on the Acropolis Hill was built around 432 BC at a cost equivalent to 500 of the most advanced warships of the day.  Imagine a building today costing as much or more than the entire U.S. Navy.  Now there is a story there!

Midway down the Acropolis hill is the Areopagus where Paul preached as recorded in the book of Acts:  "Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he beheld the city full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with them that met him. . . And they took hold of him, and brought him unto the Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new teaching is, which is spoken by thee? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears:we would know therefore what these things mean. (Now all the Athenians and the strangers sojourning there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell or to hear some new thing.)

 And Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus, and said, Ye men of Athens, in all things, I perceive that ye are very religious. For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. What therefore ye worship in ignorance, this I set forth unto you. . . we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and device of man. The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now he commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent . . . Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; but others said, We will hear thee concerning this yet again.  Acts 17:16-32 (ASV)

As you see the Areopagus is today just a rocky plateau between the Acropolis (seen at the top of the photo below) and the Agora.


And down the hill the Agora, the market place.  A busy downtown with everything we have today except the stop lights.  

I think of life and the stories of the people here, there and then.  So many stories to be written.


© Beryl Carpenter 2013 - 2018