Acts 19:21–41 (ESV)
A Riot at Ephesus
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.”
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 theater, 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 theater. 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 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, “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 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.
Another episode shows that opponents of the Gospel cause the troubles associated with the Christian faith. Believers in Christ may suffer unjustly or, at times, justly because of their sins. In either case, the
Lord brings us through suffering to His eternal kingdom, even while giving us opportunities to serve. Christ, who suffered for us, is always with us.
I pray: “Jesus,
lead Thou on Till our rest is won. Heav’nly leader, still direct us, Still support, console, protect us, Till we safely stand In our fatherland.” Amen. (LSB 718:4)
Edward A. Engelbrecht,
The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2009), 1878.