Today we’re driving to Pergamos, about 2 hours drive from Izmir. The name of the city today is Bergamo. On the bus Randy gave us a lesson on the Greco-Roman ways of worship and their view of their gods. Their idea was to do things for the gods in the hope of obtaining something in return. The message of Jesus was so different, with God’s unconditional love.
We visited the Acropolis of Pergamos. We saw a temple that was built to worship Trajan the emperor and the god Zeus. Nearby was the steep seating area of a theater. Marketing new ideas starts with first getting people to laugh at the idea. Entertainment was and still is the way culture is changed and shaped. There was also a temple to Athena. This was a seat of pagan worship, but we don’t know which one was specifically known to the Christians as Satan’s seat.
The Christians at Pergamos were under pressure to conform to the culture. Antipas was a faithful martyr. A white stone signified pardon from a death sentence, with a new name given, including the name of the one who pardoned.
We visited the Basilica of St John. A temple had been constructed to an Egyptian God. Later a Christian church building was constructed inside the temple. Today part of it is being used as a mosque.
Our third and last site for the day was the asklepion. This was the place to go for healing after one had exhausted all of the simpler methods such as blood letting, amulets, spells, etc. The patient would live here, hoping Asklepios would reveal through a dream what was needed for a cure. A doctor at the healing center would then apply the treatment.
There was a theater on the premises. One of the methods of healing used was having the patient act out his dreams on stage.
What is the purpose of your worship? To win things and blessings in return? What God or gods are we expecting to meet our needs?