July 14 – Acts 19:21-41

July 14 – Acts 19:21-41

21 Afterward Paul felt compelled by the Spirit[a] to go over to Macedonia and Achaia before going to Jerusalem. “And after that,” he said, “I must go on to Rome!” 22 He sent his two assistants, Timothy and Erastus, ahead to Macedonia while he stayed awhile longer in the province of Asia.

The Riot in Ephesus

23 About that time, serious trouble developed in Ephesus concerning the Way. 24 It began with Demetrius, a silversmith who had a large business manufacturing silver shrines of the Greek goddess Artemis.[b] He kept many craftsmen busy. 25 He called them together, along with others employed in similar trades, and addressed them as follows:

“Gentlemen, you know that our wealth comes from this business. 26 But as you have seen and heard, this man Paul has persuaded many people that handmade gods aren’t really gods at all. And he’s done this not only here in Ephesus but throughout the entire province! 27 Of course, I’m not just talking about the loss of public respect for our business. I’m also concerned that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will lose its influence and that Artemis—this magnificent goddess worshiped throughout the province of Asia and all around the world—will be robbed of her great prestige!”

28 At this their anger boiled, and they began shouting, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 Soon the whole city was filled with confusion. Everyone rushed to the amphitheater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, who were Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia. 30 Paul wanted to go in, too, but the believers wouldn’t let him. 31 Some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, also sent a message to him, begging him not to risk his life by entering the amphitheater.

32 Inside, the people were all shouting, some one thing and some another. Everything was in confusion. In fact, most of them didn’t even know why they were there. 33 The Jews in the crowd pushed Alexander forward and told him to explain the situation. He motioned for silence and tried to speak. 34 But when the crowd realized he was a Jew, they started shouting again and kept it up for about two hours: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians! Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

35 At last the mayor was able to quiet them down enough to speak. “Citizens of Ephesus,” he said. “Everyone knows that Ephesus is the official guardian of the temple of the great Artemis, whose image fell down to us from heaven. 36 Since this is an undeniable fact, you should stay calm and not do anything rash. 37 You have brought these men here, but they have stolen nothing from the temple and have not spoken against our goddess.

38 “If Demetrius and the craftsmen have a case against them, the courts are in session and the officials can hear the case at once. Let them make formal charges. 39 And if there are complaints about other matters, they can be settled in a legal assembly. 40 I am afraid we are in danger of being charged with rioting by the Roman government, since there is no cause for all this commotion. And if Rome demands an explanation, we won’t know what to say.” 41 [c]Then he dismissed them, and they dispersed.

Acts 19:21-41 (NLT)

One Comment

    Jason Parsons

    Paul’s third missionary journey was turning out to be subdued until he had nearly completed his three year stay in Ephesus and this riot broke out. It should be noted that this was started for financial reasons. We’ve now seen Christianity persecuted against by religious leaders (the Jews in Jerusalem), governmental leaders (Herod Agrippa in Acts 12), and now business leaders. This should come as no surprise because Jesus wants to rule every aspect of our lives and that means he wants to be in charge of our spending habits, political leanings, and spiritual life. This is naturally going to offend some. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:18 – “The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God.” People who do not have their focus on Jesus are naturally going to be more worried about their business and make every effort (including starting a riot) to get people kicked out of town when they are causing their profits to take a steep decline. The people who think the cross is foolishness will be more likely to over exert power when they are in control because they are consumed with keeping control like the government and religious leaders were doing. When we give ourselves over to Jesus, we are not going to stop worry about these things if they occur but we should be more and more prepared to handle whatever comes our way because we know the power of God!

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