Today we docked in the Turkish port of Kusadasi. Once the ship was cleared by customs, we boarded a tour bus with a wonderful tour guide who called himself “Oz”. He had been born and raised in Kusadasi and was knowledgable and proud of his heritage.
This western quarter of Turkey was called Asia Minor during the Roman period, and Ephesus was its largest city. When Paul arrived in Ephesus, Priscilla and Aquila greeted him, introduced him to the congregation that met at their house and briefed him on the status of the local movement. According to Acts, Ephesus had believers who had been baptized by disciples of John the Baptist and followed a teacher named Apollos. He had since left Ephesus for Corinth, with a letter of introduction from Aquila and Priscilla. The Ephesus community knew the teachings of Jesus, but had not heard Paul’s message of the holy spirit. Similar variations, and sometimes rivalry, must have marked many early congregations, varying by teacher, local tradition, and communications with other cities. In his circuit of travels, Paul tried to establish some continuity. Paul would spend three years in Ephesus, and may have been imprisoned for some of that time. His letters indicate that he made visits to Corinth during his stay. And, as in Corinth, Paul earned his keep working as a tentmaker when he could, and depended on the support of his congregations when he could not. With this support he was able to spread his message even while under arrest.
This afternoon we continued our cruise to Patmos, the “Jerusalem of the Aegean,” where we enjoyed an excursion to the MONASTERY OF ST. JOHN and to the CAVE OF THE APOCALYPSE, where John the Evangelist dictated the Book of the Revelation during his exile. This will be the subject of Part Seven!