Focal Passage: Ephesians 1:7-10, 18-23
If one were to take a vacation to first-century Ephesus, one of the highlights would be the Temple of Diana (also known as Artemis). It was one of the “seven wonders of the world.” The temple was a financial boon to the city for centuries. An ancient myth says that Diana was born in the forest of Ephesus when her image of wood fell from the sky. She became known as the “goddess of life,” the mother of everything living and existed everywhere there was life.
The temple that housed her shrine was four times the size of the Parthenon in Greece. Because of what she represented to the Ephesians, she was exalted like none other.
Diana was not, however, invincible.
Her shrine was destroyed by natural causes and human greed multiple times. Each time it was destroyed, though, it was rebuilt larger and grander than before. Today, however, its only evidence of existence is a rusted sign and abandoned stones.
During Paul’s ministry in Ephesus (Acts 19), he battled firsthand the Diana cult. He and his team were no strangers to spiritual warfare. Although they lived in the world of emperor and idol worship, they were unwavering in their proclamation of Jesus Christ as Lord.
The contrasts of Diana and Jesus are stark. Diana reputedly fell as wood from the sky, was the mother of the fertility cult and became rubble for good around A.D. 400.
Jesus left his heavenly home to become fully human, giving His life as a living sacrifice for the salvation of those believing in Him.
Today’s scripture text speaks of why Jesus, not Diana, is exalted like no other. In verses 21-23 the apostle Paul rightly positions Christ as “far” above any human ruler or manufactured deity. As history has proven, idols will come and go, but Jesus will remain true and constant for every generation. As God’s exalted One, everything and everyone is subject to Jesus the Christ. As the Church, no one and nothing comes before our Lord.