Acts 19: Sending sculptors out of business

January 16th, 2007

If you spend a lot of time and effort trying to help people out, sooner or later you will run into opposition from unexpected sources. That’s when you get to discover who has a vested interest in you not helping the people. When money is involved, when someone is making a dollar out of a situation, you may have a fight on your hands if you want to change things. Even if everybody will be better off as a result of the change in the long term, you may face opposition at the hands of people who might suffer some short term loss. It’s amazing how complicated it can be if you just want to help people.

The Acts of the Apostles — Chapter 19

19:1 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul travelled via an inland route and came to Ephesus, where he found some disciples. 19:2 He asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They said, “No, we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 19:3 He asked, “What form of baptism did you have?” They said, “John’s baptism.” 19:4 Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who would come after him, Jesus.”

19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 19:6 Paul laid his hands on them, and the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in other languages and prophesied. 19:7 They were about twelve men in all. 19:8 He went into the synagogue and spoke boldly over a period of three months, speaking and persuading about the Kingdom of God.

19:9 But when some people stubbornly rejected the message, publicly denouncing the Way, he and the disciples left them, and started speaking each day in the school of Tyrannus. 19:10 This continued for two years, so that everyone who lived in Asia heard the message of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

19:11 God worked special miracles by the hands of Paul, 19:12 so that sick people were cured and evil spirits were cast out even when handkerchiefs or aprons which had touched his skin were taken to them. 19:13 Some itinerant Jewish exorcists tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over a man who had an evil spirit, saying, “I command you to come out by the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches.” 19:14 There were seven sons of a Jewish senior priest named Sceva, who did this.

19:15 The evil spirit answered, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?” 19:16 The man with the evil spirit jumped on them, and overpowered and assaulted them, so that they ran out of that house naked and bruised. 19:17 This became known to everyone who lived in Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. Fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was praised. 19:18 Many people who had believed came to confess what they had done. 19:19 Many who had practised magical arts brought their books and burned them in the sight of everyone. They added up the value of the books, and found that it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. 19:20 So the message of the Lord was growing and becoming powerful.

19:21 After this, Paul was prompted by the Holy Spirit to go to Jerusalem via Macedonia and Achaia. He said, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.” 19:22 He sent two of his attendants, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia while he himself stayed in Asia for a while. 19:23 About that time there was a big disturbance about the Way. 19:24 A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in a lot of business for the craftsmen. 19:25 He gathered them together with the workers from similar trades and said, “Gentlemen, you know that we make our money from this trade. 19:26 You have seen and heard that this Paul has persuaded many people and turned them away, not only in Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, saying that things that are made with hands are no gods. 19:27 Not only is there a risk that our trade will come into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be counted as nothing, and the majesty of the one whom all Asia and the world worships will be destroyed.”

19:28 When they heard this they were enraged, and shouted out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 19:29 The whole city was filled with rioting, and they rushed together into the stadium, having seized Gaius and Aristarchus from Macedonia, Paul’s travelling companions. 19:30 Paul wanted to go in to address the people, but the disciples did not let him. 19:31 Some of the Asian officials who were his friends sent him a message begging him not to go into the stadium. 19:32 Inside, some people shouted one thing, and some another. Everything was in confusion. Most people did not know why they had come together. 19:33 Some of the crowd gave instructions to Alexander, and the Jews pushed him forward. Alexander motioned with his hand, and would have spoken to the people. 19:34 But when they saw that he was a Jew, the whole crowd shouted out in unison for about two hours, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

19:35 When the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, “People of Ephesus, who doesn’t know that the city of the Ephesians is guardian of the temple of the great goddess Artemis, and of the image which fell down from Zeus? 19:36 These things can’t be denied, so you should be quiet, and not do anything rash. 19:37 The men you have brought here, are not temple robbers or blasphemers of your goddess. 19:38 If Demetrius and the craftsmen who are with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls. Let them bring legal proceedings against one another. 19:39 If you want anything else, it will be settled in a regular meeting. 19:40 We are in danger of getting into trouble because of today’s riot, as there is no reason for it. We would be unable to explain this commotion.” 19:41 When he had spoken, he dismissed the assembly.

Entry Filed under: Perseverance

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. » Tac&hellip  |  December 12th, 2009 at 8:11 am

    […] Acts chapter 19 describes how there was some collateral damage when Paul spent some time in Ephesus telling people about Jesus. As people were becoming Christians, the market demand for idols was dropping off. The profits made by the silversmiths and craftsmen were drying up. So the people who had a financial interest in the situation decided that Paul and his message needed to be stamped out. […]

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