21 Now after these events Paul resolved in the Spirit to pass through Macedonia and Achaia and go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.” 22 And having sent into Macedonia two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while.
23 About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way. 24 For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen. 25 These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. 26 And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. 27 And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship.”
28 When they heard this they were enraged and were crying out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 So the city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed together into the theatre, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s companions in travel. 30 But when Paul wished to go in among the crowd, the disciples would not let him. 31 And even some of the Asiarchs, who were friends of his, sent to him and were urging him not to venture into the theatre. 32 Now some cried out one thing, some another, for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together. 33 Some of the crowd prompted Alexander, whom the Jews had put forward. And Alexander, motioning with his hand, wanted to make a defence to the crowd. 34 But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two hours they all cried out with one voice, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”
35 And when the town clerk had quietened the crowd, he said, “Men of Ephesus, who is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great Artemis, and of the sacred stone that fell from the sky? 36 Seeing then that these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. 37 For you have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor blasphemers of our goddess. 38 If therefore Demetrius and the craftsmen with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls. Let them bring charges against one another. 39 But if you seek anything further, it shall be settled in the regular assembly. 40 For we really are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion.” 41 And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- v21 This verse provides an outline for the remainder of Acts. After leaving Ephesus, Paul returned to the churches in Macedonia (including churches in Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea) and Achaia (including church in Corinth) and from there went to Jerusalem and eventually to Rome. Places play a key role in Acts. Geography assumes a symbolic as well as literal importance. Jerusalem symbolises the Jewish religion from which Christianity emerged and Rome symbolises the Gentile world to which Christianity gravitates as the early history of the church unfolds.
- v24-28 Demetrius was a skilled demagogue. His real problem was that Paul’s polemic against idolatry was hurting his business, but he added more volatile accusations that aroused civic and religious pride. “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” Civic and religious pride were the decisive factors provoking the riot. Perhaps we need to be aware of people who use superficial reasons to disguise their true motives.
- v32 As with most mobs, confusion reigned, many not knowing why they had assembled. Are we letting others influence our emotions too easily? Are we following blindly to the agendas of the world?
- v38 “the courts are open”. The legal means for settling disputes were the regular courts conducted by the Roman proconsul and the scheduled meetings of the town assembly. A proconsul was the head of government in a Roman province.
- v40 “in danger”. The crowd in the theatre had the appearance of an unlawful assembly and risked bringing Roman reprisals. Christian gospel was not contrary to the Roman rule of law and was not disruptive of public order, and that accusations made to that effect were untrue. Its is a reminder that we need not go against the law to prove our point.
- v23-41 Paul experiences violent opposition at Ephesus. The account of Paul’s Ephesian ministry concludes with a riot against Paul. This brings to light that sharing the Gospel is never an easy task.
submitted by Violet Lee
PRAYING IN FAITH
The work to bear witness to the good news of Jesus Christ is not completed yet. Ask God to give you the strength and faith to continue this paramount task despite resistance.
For your Five
Ask God to open their eyes to distinguish The Truth from the hidden agendas of the world.
For Our Church
What is our true agenda? Has the church done enough to share the Gospel? Pray for strength and wisdom to effectively do God’s work.