At this their anger boiled, and they began shouting, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 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. Paul wanted to go in, too, but the believers wouldn’t let him. 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. 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. The Jews in the crowd pushed Alexander forward and told him to explain the situation. He motioned for silence and tried to speak. 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!” 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. Since this is an undeniable fact, you should stay calm and not do anything rash. You have brought these men here, but they have stolen nothing from the temple and have not spoken against our goddess. “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. And if there are complaints about other matters, they can be settled in a legal assembly. 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.” Then he dismissed them, and they dispersed.
(Acts of the Apostles 19:28-41 NLT)
The people of Ephesus were stirred up into a frenzy. Demetrius, motivated by his satanic, selfish, ambition incited a riot. The scene got so out of hand that the mayor had to calm them and address them. He told them that this behavior was unfounded and without due reason. He explained that Roman authorities would not accept this conduct as lawful and, therefore, might take action against them. After talking some sense into them, they dispersed and went home.
The gospel may require us to face situations that are potentially dangerous, politically disrupting, and socially unpopular. We need to stand strong and true to Jesus and His Word no matter what the consequences. Let us pray for wisdom to navigate the times in which we live.
"Be steadfast my brothers and sisters! So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless."(1 Corinthians 15:58 NLT)
Rev. Curtis Norris