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 will be scorned, and she will be deprived of her majesty that brought all Asia and the world to worship her.” When they heard this, they were enraged and shouted, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”Acts 19:27-28
By the power of the Holy Spirit, Paul does not rest after the before mentioned conversions of so many at Ephesus as he presses on to give the Word of Christ to all the rest of those in Ephesus and of Asia who are in need of receiving Christ, preaching and anointing, and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. He proposes, known to him by the Spirit, to go through Macedonia and Achaia. He sends Timothy and Erastus on to Macedonia as he has his eyes on Jerusalem, then on to Rome. Afterwards to Spain, (Romans 15:24).
We’ve probably read about the hero’s of this time period— Caesar, Alexander the Great, and other heroes. Yet no greater hero could ever be lifted up to us as this Benjamite Paul whose faith is outstandingly awesome in his love of God and Christ. Also, Paul’s compassion for each individual is so very similar to Christ’s compassion as his large heart is motivated by Christ’s love to bring all to Christ. And too, the unity he has with the Holy Spirit for multitudes of blessings.
Before Paul’s message of Christ the silversmiths of Ephesus had had big profits– making and selling silver models of the popular temple of goddess Artemis (or Diana) in Ephesus and selling throughout the Roman Empire. These models were purchased both by citizens of Ephesus and strangers to the city. It was promoted that these model temples held the same god-divinity as the temple itself. But the goddess’ popularity drops dramatically as Paul has been in town.
The silversmiths want this news of sales dropping to get out to the people. So the silversmiths, led by Demetrius the largest silver-trade businessman, gather together and they call together all of their workers too. Demetrius says, “… Paul has persuaded and drawn away a considerable number of people by saying that gods made with hands are not gods.” Demetrius also says that Paul and his followers are scorning the temple of Artemis. They point out that her majesty will be destroyed. Believers know that an idol god has insufficient majesty and is very capable of being destroyed.
Well, a tremendous riot breaks out with rallying cry shout, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”The Way (believers of Christ), they say, is a city and regional problem–citing, because of the The Way their temple is now despised. True.
Worship of any god except for the True God the Father of Jesus Christ is wholly rejected by Christians. So those citizens who profited greatly from idol worship seek, and do, cause a tremendous riot to start. With the riot underway, those who hold positions of governance gather together in their formal assembly building with the silversmiths. The rioting people also rush into the assembly. And some of the other rioters who search to find Paul, but do not find him, decide to drag Caius and Aristarchus of Macedonia (Paul’s travel companions) into the assembly.
Paul hears of the huge gathering and he wants to speak in the assembly but disciples and local friends strongly urge him not to go. Paul has no fear. Paul wants to go in and plead the case against Diana/Artemis and other gods, all idols. But at others urging he does not go. Now in the assembly, some Jews hear Paul cannot be found, but they do see Alexander– probably some well know Christian of that time, and he’s in the crowd also. They push Alexander forward to expose him to danger. Angry Diana worshippers ready themselves to pounce.
So Alexander tries to speak. Alexander handles this with authority given him by Holy Spirit. Alexander waves the crowd to silence and yet when they recognize he is a Jew (against idol worship) they shout out over the assembly for two hours, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!“
Then a judge of the assembly, the registrar, now takes charge. The registrar reminds those gathered that everyone who knows Ephesus knows that Ephesus is known throughout for temple Artemis. He counsels all listeners not act rashly. He goes on to remind them that there is a proper court of law if Paul and the disciples are to be charged with blasphemy or robbery of the temple. He says they are not blasphemers nor temple robbers, since they have spoken out against gods made with human hands and Artemis was not made from human hands. He says, everyone knows she fell from Jupiter, right from heaven, to them. After reminding them that they could be charged with riot since there is not cause for a riot and the registrar soundly dismisses the assembly.
Here we have secular people led astray again. No god fell from Jupiter and how these folks arrived at this is through superstition and fabrication of untrue thinking. When we give ourselves for the first time to Jesus Christ we know with all of our being that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and Life.