Today we are touring Ephesus and I am showing the tour group my favorite things in this ancient city. We filmed here for our Paul and Mary DVDs and have brought groups here on numerous occasions.
One of my favorite things to show people in Ephesus is the Billboard for the Brothel that is carved into a large stone on the main road. Every man getting off the ships in the harbor, would see this advertisement. Of course it is well worn with age after 2000 years, but it is still clear enough to “read.”
Men looked for these kind of ads when they arrived in a new city. Where are the prostitutes? Sure enough this billboard carved in the stone gave them directions. If you want the love (heart shape) of a pretty girl (image of pretty girl) turn left (left foot) at the next crossroad (T-shape). Sure enough, archaeologists found a two-story brothal up the road to the left. It was even connected by an underground tunnel to the library.
(If you want to visit Ephesus with me next March on our Footprints of St. Paul Cruise, click here for more info.)
Men have always been tempted by sinful lusts and passions. St. Paul and his fellowworkers had to resist the same ubiquitous temptations confronting men today. But I suspect things are a bit more subtle and insidious today. Men don’t have to step out of the door or risk the embarrassment of being seen going into a brothal in the heart of the city. Today they can watch porn in the privacy of their own home. This insidious and addicting sin can destroy a man, a marriage, a family and bring the soul down to hell.
Paul challenged the men in Corinth to avoid the prostitutes and sexual sin (1 Corinthians 6:15-16). He said to flee immorality. We have joined ourselves to Christ; how can we then join ourselves to a prostitute. Strabo wrote that at night 1,000 prostitutes descended from the Temple of Aphrodite to entice the men in the city. It was wicked then; it is wicked today. Like Paul we have to pass by the brothal, the magazine rack, the internet porn. When men win this moral victory the angels in heaven rejoice. St. Paul, pray for us!