Paul and John
The question might be asked regarding why this study tour of these two significant Fathers of our Faith. Let’s take John first. It is believed (ancient tradition) that John was a cousin of our Lord and that the wedding He attended in Cana may have been John’s. In addition, John along with Peter and James, formed sort of an inner trio of our Lord’s disciples. For instance, they were with Him on the Mount of Transfiguration and in the Garden of Gethsemane. Peter denied the Lord with his words but John denied the Lord with his silence. Of course both of these gentlemen were radically changed after the resurrection and the day of Pentecost.
significant part of John’s ministry was apparently in and around the
city of Ephesus, which we will visit along with the 6 other churches to
which the book of Revelation was directed.
John was the disciple of whom it is written that Jesus loved. He continued to demonstrate that love as he was exiled to the
island of Patmos, which we will also visit.
Prior to this, tradition says that he was cast into a vat of
boiling oil but was miraculously delivered.
We have no proof of this but we do know that when he was an old
man in his 90’s he was an exile on Patmos and wrote the final book of
the New Testament, the book of Revelation.
When we are on that island I want us to think of how the Lord
appeared to John in His glorified body and gave him this marvelous
revelation of Himself and things to come!
According to tradition, John was the only one of the original
disciple who did not die a violent death.
I stand in a place like Patmos and think of what John and the other
early Fathers did to pass the faith down to us I am thoroughly humbled
as to Paul. If we were to
trace all of Paul’s life we would have to traverse the entire middle
east!! However, the most
significant part of his ministry was in the areas we will visit.
For instance, it is so important to us that the Holy Spirit
directed Paul and his companions to Europe instead of Asia. We will trace his footsteps though Greece.
I especially love to sit on Mars Hill overlooking the ancient
“agora”, or market place of Athens, on the one hand and the ruins on
the acropolis on the other. I
trust that we will be able to read Paul’s discussions with the
philosophers while we are there and his marvelous message to them and
there is Corinth. When I
think of this ancient city I must think of Paul having spent extended
time there. It was here he
met Aquilla and Priscilla and worked with them in the tent making
business to support his ministry. We
will even see the remains of some of the shops and wonder if one of
these was Aquilla’s. We will also stand before the same judgment seat (bema) that
Paul stood before as he made his defense of the gospel in that pagan
city. We will lift up our
eyes and see the remains of the Corinthian acropolis where there are
remains of ancient temples dedicated to pagan gods and where over 1200
religious prostitutes plied their trade.
Corinth was an evil seaport city but it was visited by the Grace
of God and two of our very important epistles of the New Testament were
directed to this diverse multi-cultural worldly city.
Yes, we have some exciting adventures ahead of us as we are privileged to trace some of the “Footsteps of Paul and John.”