While preaching the Gospel in Ephesus, Paul spoke persuasively about the fact that “gods made by human hands are no gods at all.” As a result, local craftsmen who sold silver shrines of the goddess Artemis lost revenue, and a riot ensued. Alistair Begg points out, though, that Paul still followed the pattern that Jesus Christ modeled by reaching out to the lost and suffering with loving tenderness and a sincere invitation to be transformed.
23About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way. 24For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen. 25These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. 26And 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. 27And 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.”
28When they heard this they were enraged and were crying out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29So the city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed together into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul's companions in travel. 30But when Paul wished to go in among the crowd, the disciples would not let him. 31And even some of the Asiarchs,5 who were friends of his, sent to him and were urging him not to venture into the theater. 32Now 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. 33Some of the crowd prompted Alexander, whom the Jews had put forward. And Alexander, motioning with his hand, wanted to make a defense to the crowd. 34But 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!”
35And when the town clerk had quieted 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?6 36Seeing then that these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. 37For you have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor blasphemers of our goddess. 38If 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. 39But if you seek anything further,7 it shall be settled in the regular assembly. 40For we really are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion.” 41And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly.
Copyright © 2020, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.