Ancient Sardis

Next stop on our tour of the seven cities of Asia Minor is Sardis.

One of the cities on the ‘royal road’, Sardis was around 60 miles inland from Ephesus. A ‘fair hike’ as we would say in Australia. (I say this because the apostles walked.)

Pactolus River


Sardis was located near the Pactolus River, gold (gold dust) was found near the river, and made the ancient kings rich. Supposedly the gold floated on the river, making it appear gold.


An interesting aside…

according to legend, King Midas divested himself of the golden touch by washing himself in the river.

Statue of Artemis·

As in Ephesus, the main goddess was Artemis (Diana, to the Romans) and the temple in Sardis was one of the seven largest Greek temples.

What did this mean for the early Christians? Again, they were up against a long-standing pagan culture.  There was a growing settlement of Jews there also, and the Jews saw the Christians as heretics. As in all the cities of the Roman province of Asia Minor, Christianity was not popular with the non-Christian people. Perhaps this was what led to them being castigated by Christ in His letter to the churches in the book of Revelation…

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: These are the words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works; you have a name of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God. Remember then what you received and heard; obey it, and repent. If you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you. Yet you have still a few persons in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes; they will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. If you conquer, you will be clothed like them in white robes, and I will not blot your name out of the book of life; I will confess your name before my Father and before his angels. Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. Rev 3: 1 – 6

It would be a mistake to think that this is only to the Sardis church at the time.

God’s word, and Christ’s warning speaks to us today.

(Well, it does to me. After all, the last part says ‘let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches’.)

Where do I need to wake up? Am I remembering, hearing… and repenting of my shortcomings?


Just some thoughts as we leave Sardis,




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