A Riot at Ephesus 21 Now after these events Paul resolved in the Spirit u to pass through v Macedonia and Achaia and w go to Jerusalem, saying, “After I have been there, x I must also see Rome.” 22 And having sent into Macedonia two of y his helpers, z Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia a for a while. 23 About that time b there arose no little disturbance concerning c the Way. 24 For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, d brought no little business to the craftsmen. 25 d 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, e saying that f 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 g 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, g “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 So the city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed together into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and h Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s i 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, 1 who were friends of his, sent to him and were urging him not to venture into the theater. 32 j 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, k motioning with his hand, wanted to make a defense to the crowd. 34 But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two hours they all cried out with one voice, l “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 35 And 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 m the sky? 1 36 Seeing then that these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. 37 For you have brought n these men here who are neither o 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 p proconsuls. Let them bring charges against one another. 39 But if you seek anything further, 1 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. Paul in Macedonia and Greece 20 1 After the uproar ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them, he said farewell and q departed for Macedonia.
21 Ὡς δὲ ἐπληρώθη ταῦτα, ἔθετο ὁ Παῦλος ἐν τῷ πνεύματι διελθὼν τὴν Μακεδονίαν καὶ Ἀχαΐαν πορεύεσθαι εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα εἰπὼν ὅτι μετὰ τὸ γενέσθαι με ἐκεῖ δεῖ με καὶ Ῥώμην ἰδεῖν. 22 ἀποστείλας δὲ εἰς τὴν Μακεδονίαν δύο τῶν διακονούντων αὐτῷ, Τιμόθεον καὶ Ἔραστον, αὐτὸς ἐπέσχεν χρόνον εἰς τὴν Ἀσίαν. 23 Ἐγένετο δὲ κατὰ τὸν καιρὸν ἐκεῖνον τάραχος οὐκ ὀλίγος περὶ τῆς ὁδοῦ. 24 Δημήτριος γάρ τις ὀνόματι, ἀργυροκόπος, ποιῶν ναοὺς ἀργυροῦς Ἀρτέμιδος παρείχετο τοῖς τεχνίταις οὐκ ὀλίγην ἐργασίαν, 25 οὓς συναθροίσας καὶ τοὺς περὶ τὰ τοιαῦτα ἐργάτας εἶπεν• ἄνδρες, ἐπίστασθε ὅτι ἐκ ταύτης τῆς ἐργασίας ἡ εὐπορία ἡμῖν ἐστιν 26 καὶ θεωρεῖτε καὶ ἀκούετε ὅτι οὐ μόνον Ἐφέσου ἀλλὰ σχεδὸν πάσης τῆς Ἀσίας ὁ Παῦλος οὗτος πείσας μετέστησεν ἱκανὸν ὄχλον λέγων ὅτι οὐκ εἰσὶν θεοὶ οἱ διὰ χειρῶν γινόμενοι. 27 οὐ μόνον δὲ τοῦτο κινδυνεύει ἡμῖν τὸ μέρος εἰς ἀπελεγμὸν ἐλθεῖν ἀλλὰ καὶ τὸ τῆς μεγάλης θεᾶς Ἀρτέμιδος ἱερὸν εἰς οὐθὲν λογισθῆναι, μέλλειν τε καὶ καθαιρεῖσθαι τῆς μεγαλειότητος αὐτῆς ἣν ὅλη ἡ Ἀσία καὶ ἡ οἰκουμένη σέβεται. 28 Ἀκούσαντες δὲ καὶ γενόμενοι πλήρεις θυμοῦ ἔκραζον λέγοντες• μεγάλη ἡ Ἄρτεμις Ἐφεσίων. 29 καὶ ἐπλήσθη ἡ πόλις τῆς συγχύσεως, ὥρμησάν τε ὁμοθυμαδὸν εἰς τὸ θέατρον συναρπάσαντες Γάϊον καὶ Ἀρίσταρχον Μακεδόνας, συνεκδήμους Παύλου. 30 Παύλου δὲ βουλομένου εἰσελθεῖν εἰς τὸν δῆμον οὐκ εἴων αὐτὸν οἱ μαθηταί• 31 τινὲς δὲ καὶ τῶν Ἀσιαρχῶν, ὄντες αὐτῷ φίλοι, πέμψαντες πρὸς αὐτὸν παρεκάλουν μὴ δοῦναι ἑαυτὸν εἰς τὸ θέατρον. 32 ἄλλοι μὲν οὖν ἄλλο τι ἔκραζον• ἦν γὰρ ἡ ἐκκλησία συγκεχυμένη καὶ οἱ πλείους οὐκ ᾔδεισαν τίνος ἕνεκα συνεληλύθεισαν. 33 ἐκ δὲ τοῦ ὄχλου συνεβίβασαν Ἀλέξανδρον, προβαλόντων αὐτὸν τῶν Ἰουδαίων• ὁ δὲ Ἀλέξανδρος κατασείσας τὴν χεῖρα ἤθελεν ἀπολογεῖσθαι τῷ δήμῳ. 34 ἐπιγνόντες δὲ ὅτι Ἰουδαῖός ἐστιν, φωνὴ ἐγένετο μία ἐκ πάντων ὡς ἐπὶ ὥρας δύο κραζόντων• μεγάλη ἡ Ἄρτεμις Ἐφεσίων. 35 Καταστείλας δὲ ὁ γραμματεὺς τὸν ὄχλον φησίν• ἄνδρες Ἐφέσιοι, τίς γάρ ἐστιν ἀνθρώπων ὃς οὐ γινώσκει τὴν Ἐφεσίων πόλιν νεωκόρον οὖσαν τῆς μεγάλης Ἀρτέμιδος καὶ τοῦ διοπετοῦς; 36 ἀναντιρρήτων οὖν ὄντων τούτων δέον ἐστὶν ὑμᾶς κατεσταλμένους ὑπάρχειν καὶ μηδὲν προπετὲς πράσσειν. 37 ἠγάγετε γὰρ τοὺς ἄνδρας τούτους οὔτε ἱεροσύλους οὔτε βλασφημοῦντας τὴν θεὸν ἡμῶν. 38 εἰ μὲν οὖν Δημήτριος καὶ οἱ σὺν αὐτῷ τεχνῖται ἔχουσιν πρός τινα λόγον, ἀγοραῖοι ἄγονται καὶ ἀνθύπατοί εἰσιν, ἐγκαλείτωσαν ἀλλήλοις. 39 εἰ δέ τι περαιτέρω ἐπιζητεῖτε, ἐν τῇ ἐννόμῳ ἐκκλησίᾳ ἐπιλυθήσεται. 40 καὶ γὰρ κινδυνεύομεν ἐγκαλεῖσθαι στάσεως περὶ τῆς σήμερον, μηδενὸς αἰτίου ὑπάρχοντος περὶ οὗ [οὐ] δυνησόμεθα ἀποδοῦναι λόγον περὶ τῆς συστροφῆς ταύτης. καὶ ταῦτα εἰπὼν ἀπέλυσεν τὴν ἐκκλησίαν. 20 1 Μετὰ δὲ τὸ παύσασθαι τὸν θόρυβον μεταπεμψάμενος ὁ Παῦλος τοὺς μαθητὰς καὶ παρακαλέσας, ἀσπασάμενος ἐξῆλθεν πορεύεσθαι εἰς Μακεδονίαν.
Idolatry causes a riot in Ephesus Context: massive cultural change has happened following on from depth teaching of the word of God; this has rocked the boat for people in Ephesus, especially those who stand to gain. Paul has staying in Asia a little longer (v22), although he now explicitly has resolved his onward strategy (v21). A brief sketch of how the gospel impacts a culture. The paradigm is, light and darkness, salt and light. Challenge, contrast, conflict, and change. It's not simply a loving acceptance of everything that's going on in city life. Nor is it the creation of a Christian ghetto. Instead, it's the consistent and careful teaching of the Word of God, which is being brought to bear on everything, and inform it all. This actually happens in the individual choices made by people, so that the overall effect is change in economic and social terms. This is a study in idolatry, contrasted with the freedom of the gospel of Jesus. What's happened in Ephesus is just what Isaiah foretold and Jesus spoke of himself; how can the captives be freed from the strong man, unless someone stronger still comes and binds the strong man and frees his captives? In Biblical terms, this binding happened at the cross; where sin, the world, and the devil were defeated. Now, the darkness is being plundered. Ephesus is a picture of this. 1. Idolatry is driven by the world, the flesh, and the devil... (v21-27) Remember the fact that spiritualism, occult, magic, and superstition were everywhere in Ephesus (cf the kind of language Paul uses in his letter to them- emphasising the power of the gospel over powers and authorities, etc) v24-25 economic factor appealing to flesh and world. Idolatry is always making someone rich, and they want to keep it that way. [cf sex trade, pornography] [opposition from witch doctors because the gospel robs them of their power] v27 the danger to Demetrius' mind is that their trade will be harmed Three sinister puppet masters want to keep all the world in bondage to some form of idolatry. ...but the gospel sets us free The truth will make you free. God tells us like it is. [cf creation] New heart, frees us from the bondage to self/flesh; places us outside of the world; defeats the devil. It's a full redemption. 2. Idolatry is about worship, and so it's about jealousy... (v28-34) v28 they are jealous for Artemis' fame and glory ['credit'; 'heaviness'; 'respect'] Artemis/Diana: her temple here bigger than football pitch (4 times size of Parthenon), one of 7 ancient wonders. Goddess of fertility, mistress of wild beasts. Also identified with the moon. Daughter of Zeus and Leto. Sister of Apollo. Also goddess of death. Huge system of commerce. Eunuchs and female slaves. Annual week-long festival. v29 rushed into the amphitheatre v34 for two hours they cried out! This is real zeal. One feature of idolatry is the need to convince others, or the idol itself, that you are sincere for its glory. [Islam honour killings; or look at current desperate zeal by some to 'prove' to those looking on that they support 'openness'; 'tolerance'; 'autonomy' etc] It's a bit like 'it's the dictator's birthday, anyone found not enjoying themselves will be shot' / 'anyone found not worshiping will be taken for questioning, and may be shot' ...but the gospel restores us to true worship it 'rehumanises' us. Back to living in God's presence. Eden. New hearts that yearn after God. Worship in spirit and truth. We're nurtured by God himself in how to worship him; he gives us the words and phrases. We don't worship in order to be accepted by him. Instead, we are known, loved and accepted in Jesus - and so we worship him. We are truly set free to worship. 3. Idolatry is irrational, based on unjustified assumptions... (v35-41) v35 Legend of stone falling from sky. Spoken about as if it's self-evident. Fallacy! 'Everyone knows'; false appeal to popularity. [Post-truth, post-rational: why is it self-evident that a woman has the right to choose what happens to the unborn child? Why is it self-evident that life appeared out of nothing, as an accident? Why is it self-evident that every lifestyle choice should be embraced as valid? I was once told by a Christian, 'it's nice to think that God could have made the world in 6 days, but I believe in reason'] v37-v40 yet there's also the clear and plain acknowledgement that Paul has done nothing wrong. NB they weren't 'blasphemers of our goddess'; i.e., Paul's agenda wasn't simply 'anti-Artemis', but 'proclaim the word of God'. And in so doing, people turned from Artemis. Key distinction in our day and age when Christians in anger are in danger of making 'anti-secularism' or 'anti-islam' the message itself. Isn't it interesting how, around the world, there are thousands and thousands of different religions and belief sets? So to people who think that we can just use our reason and arrive at what's true, why is there no arriving at what's agreed upon? Maybe the Bible is just telling the truth when it says that we've suppressed, and then corrupted, the knowledge of God that he's placed in us in our conscience, and around us in creation. ...but the gospel is plain, true, and reasonable God tells it like it is [Creation, worldwide flood] It's plain in the word and the preaching of the gospel. It's not the product of reason [if it was, no one would be saved, since our reasoning ability is corrupted], but it is reasonable ['you enter the house through the door, but the house rests on strong foundations'] Open to all: Jesus' arms are open! Conclusion: Summarise three points. Paul moves on 20.1