1 June Acts 13:13

1 June. Paul reaches Perga where John Mark returns to Jerusalem

"Paul and those with him sailed from Paphos and came to Perga, in Pamphylia."

"There John Mark left them to return to Jerusalem."

          (Acts 13:13)

 

 

A brief passage today, but full of significance.

After preaching in Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed across from the island of Cyprus to Perga on the coast of Pamphylia (on the southern coast of modern-day Turkey) and up the RIver Cestrus to Perga (see 3 on the map on 31 May).

Perga was the Roman cultural and religious capital of Pamphylia. It was located 12 miles / 20 km inland along the River Cestrus, which provided a safe harbour and good shelter from the winter storms that lashed in across the Mediterranean.

Its many pagan temples included the spectacular Temple of Artemis (the goddess of sex and fertility) and the Temple of Tyche, the Greek goddess of luck (known to the Romans as ‘Fortuna’, the goddess of fortune).

John Mark was only a teenager, and had been brought up in a strict Jewish home in Jerusalem. The dubious sensual and erotic attractions of this cosmopolitan city were probably too much for John Mark to cope with, and unfamiliar with foreign Gentile and Greek culture, he decided to return to Jerusalem.

We would probably be more sympathetic to Mark's teenage homesickness today, but Paul wasn't. He felt that John Mark had let them down. And when Barnabas wanted to take John Mark with them again four years later, in 50AD, this led to a disagreement between Paul and Barnabas, who then split up and went their separate ways (see Acts 15:36-41).

Fortunately, Paul and Mark were later reconciled, and their friendship led to Mark writing his gospel account of Jesus's life, death and resurrection while staying for two years in Rome (in c.60-62AD) when Paul was under house arrest awaiting his trial before Emperor Nero. It's likely that Mark’s Gospel was written around this time, relying, for accuracy, on the accounts that he'd heard from Peter and the other apostles.

Mark was later sent by Paul to the church at Colossae, but Paul asked Timothy to bring Mark back from Colossae to Rome just before his death in c.67AD (see Colossians 4:10 & 2 Timothy 4:11). We know that John Mark arrived back in Rome about this time as Peter sent greetings from Mark in his First Letter to the believers in Asia Minor, written in c.67AD shortly before Peter was executed (see 1 Peter 5:13).

Modern-day visitors to Perge (Perga), 11 miles / 18 km north east of Antalya in Turkey, can explore an extensive archaeological site enclosing much of the Roman city.

Remains visible today include the impressive twin towers of the Hellenistic Gate, an amphitheatre, Roman baths, a large stadium, and a wide colonnaded street lined with shops. On the acropolis, looking down across an elaborate Nymphaeum (fountain), stand the ruins of the Temple of Artemis, the fertility goddess with whose followers Paul was to clash at Ephesus on a later journey (see Acts 19:23-41).

The photo shows the southern baths & Hellenistic gate at Perga.

You can see more photos of Perga @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/paul-barnabas-mark-sail-…/


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