Ephesus (population of around 200,000) was located on the River Cayster in Asia Minor only a few miles from the coast of the Aegean Sea. Its location made it a major trade center connecting the sea routes to the west with the land routes to the east. Ephesus was the chief communication and commercial link between Rome and the East. As a melting pot of nations and ethnic groups, it also became the major commercial center and capital of the Roman province of Asia Minor.
Ephesus was 1 of the top cultural cities. Architecturally, the city was magnificent. Its main thoroughfare has been called “the most splendid street of the Roman Empire.” It was the home of an open-air theater seating 24,000. Ephesus was also the center for the worship of Artemis, also known as Diana, the goddess of fertility. The city housed the temple of Artemis which drew multitudes of worshipers. It also provided income for those who made the idols. The temple of Artemis, constructed of marble, was the largest building in the Greek world measuring 377 feet by 235 feet (about the size of a football field) and was 1 of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World. But, interest in Artemis was not only for religious purposes. The temple fueled the economy of Ephesus through the “tourists” who visited the temple.Â People from all parts of the world deposited money in the bank of her temple.
Paul’s words to the Christians living in this wealthy pagan city ring true for us today. He challenges them to “be imitators of God” (Ephesians 5:1). They were to be Christ’s hands and feet and mouths. They were to live different lives than their neighbors. As they imitated God, others would see a life that reflected Christ.
How are you being Christ’s hands and feet in your world serving others? When do you use your mouth to speak God’s Words? How does your life look different than the life of your neighbor? How do you reflect Christ to those around you? Would others say that your lifestyle imitates Christ? How can you change your life to better imitate God? It’s never too late to become an imitator of God. Why not start today?