ACTS CHAPTER 19.
Paul’s Work at Ephesus. Acts 19, l-20.
Paul’s arrival at Ephesus: V.1. And it came to pass that, while Apollos was at Coririth, Paul, having passed through the upper coasts, came to Ephesus; and finding certain disciples, v.2. he said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. V.3. And he said unto them, Unto what, then, were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. V.4. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people that they should believe on Him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. V.5. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. V.6. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues‘ and prophesied. V.7. And all the men were about twelve. While Apollos was in Corinth, having made the voyage across the Aegean after his stay in Ephesus, Paul, having finished his visitation trip in the upper, the mountainous, districts of Asia Minor, came down to Ephesus. Apparently Paul did not take the main road from Pisidian Antioch, which passed through Colossae and Laodicea (cp. Col. 2, 1), but took the very shortest route, farther north, down the Cayster Valley. So he found himself in Ephesus within the briefest possible time. Ephesus, the capital of Proconsular Asia, was, like Athens, a typical city of heathendom, the “home of every Oriental quackery and superstition in combination with its Hellenism.” It stood a mile from the Aegean Sea, fronting an artificial harbor. On the hill above the city rose the Temple of Artemis, one of the most magnificent buildings in Asia Minor. For Paul’s purposes it was especially valuable that the system of Roman roads from every quarter of the province made Ephesus easily accessible. Upon his arrival in the city the apostle found a peculiar, a singular condition obtaining in the congregation. Due to the efforts of Aquila, Priscilla, and Apollos, there was an assembly of brethren there, of men and women that accepted Jesus as their Savior j, but there was a wide difference in the state of Christian knowledge. For Paul here found twelve men whom he proceeded to question as to the extent of their knowledge of Christian doctrines. One of his questions was whether they had received the Holy Ghost at the time when they became believers, the sense of the inquiry being whether they had received the extraordinary gift of the Holy Ghost which had been vouchsafed to so many converts. Their answer was rather surprising, for they stated that they had not even heard of the existence of a Holy Ghost in connection with their conversion. Upon Paul’s further question into what, then, they had been baptized, that is, what form of baptism they had received, they answered that they had been baptized into the baptism of John. This answer showed Paul that they were lacking in the proper understanding, and he proceeded to give them the necessary instruction, namely, that John had baptized with the baptism of repentance, incidentally telling the people that they should believe on Him that was coming after him, that is, on Jesus Christ. 74) This explanation of Paul fully opened their understanding, and they received Baptism into the name of the Lard Jesus, thus being added to the number of those that belonged to Christ as His own. “The papyri have shown that where the phrase ‘baptized into’ occurs, that the person baptized becomes the property of the divine person indicated.” 75) And when Paul, who seems to have performed the baptizing personally, laid his hands upon the men, the Holy Ghost came upon them with extraordinary gifts, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.
The story of these twelve men, as here related, seems very strange if viewed in the light of present knowledge, but the strangeness disappears when me take the circumstances into account. The case is on the order of that of Apollos, whose ignorance of what certainly is an important part of Christian doctrine was just as profound. We must distinguish between the baptism which John personally administered, and that of his later disciples, which is commonly referred to as the baptism of John. The baptism with which John, by a special command of God, baptized, was a valid sacrament, which gave to those that confessed their sins, and believed the preaching of John, forgiveness of sins and the grace of God. 76) But John the Baptist was merely the precursor of Christ; his preaching, as his baptism, was a testimony of Christ, who was to come after him, and who, through His suffering and death, was to earn salvation and forgiveness for all sinners. After Christ had been revealed to Israel and had formally entered upon His ministry, the time of preparation was ended, the work and the office of John ceased to have value. And when Christ then, by His death, had finished His work and after His resurrection had given His disciples the command to baptize all nations in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost; when, above all, the Day of Pentecost had come, and the disciples of the Lord were now baptizing in the name of Jesus Christ, the crucified and resurrected, then the baptism of John no longer had any value, just as the Old Testament sacrament of circumcision, though still practiced by the Jewish Christians, was regarded as a mere ceremony.
But not all the disciples of John had entered into the discipleship of Christ. We find, even after the death of John and after the death of Christ, a small association or communion of disciples of John that did not unite with the Church. They thus became a sect, regarded John as their head, and acted contrary to the will and command of their own master. And therefore their baptism, which they performed and proclaimed as the continuation of I he baptism of John, was no real baptism, but a mere dead ceremony. This ceremony had been performed in the case of the twelve disciples in Ephesus, the one that had administered it to them very likely not testifying to them in the form and with the power of John, that Christ had baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire. But these men had now heard the story of Jesus in Ephesus; through the mercy and the power of the Holy Ghost they had come to faith. And now they also, by the administration of the sacrament which was the real Baptism, received the extraordinary gifts which had been given to other baptized Christians. 77)
The success of the Gospel: V.8. And he went into the synagog, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. V.9. But when divers were hardened and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. V.10. And this continued by the space of two years, so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the Word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. V.11. And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul, v.12. so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. Also in Ephesus Paul followed his usual method of going into the synagog of the Jews first and making a sincere attempt to win them for the kingdom of God. He spoke boldly, without reserve, in an altogether fearless manner. For three months he pursued this course of bringing the soundest arguments, the most persuasive points in regard to the kingdom of God. He preached that Kingdom, the fact that God wanted all men to enter into it by faith; he exerted all his strength to win souls for the Lord. But in spite of all his efforts some of the hearers hardened themselves; gradually, from day to day, they became more obstinate, more positive in their refusal to accept the message of the Gospel, 2 Cor. 2, 16. Finally they openly avowed their disbelief and reviled the way of the Lord, the doctrine and practice of Christianity, before the entire assembly that gathered in the synagog for worship. Cp. chap. 18, 6. This ungrateful and blasphemous behavior at length induced Paul to do two things. For himself, he renounced all fellowship with the synagog, and he separated all the disciples from the members of the Jewish congregation, with whom they had till now worshiped. And now, instead of meeting with the believers only once, or at the most three times a week, Paul could hold daily services. For he made arrangements to have the use of a lecture-hall belonging to one Tyrannus, very likely a public teacher of philosophy or rhetoric. The time of services could easily be fixed so that all were able to attend and to bring many others to the preaching of the Gospel. And so satisfactory did this plan prove to be that it was followed, in an uninterrupted manner, for the space of two years. The results of such intensive work, under the leadership of such an energetic worker, were proportionately gratifying. Not only the city of Ephesus itself, but all the inhabitants of Proconsular Asia, of the entire province, both Jews and Greeks (speaking generally), heard the Word of the Lord. Either they personally came to Ephesus to hear the great preacher of Christianity, or they heard the Word from the many disciples that went out from the city. Owing to this great missionary effort, we later have seven churches of Asia, Rev. 1, 4, all within the territory of Ephesus. The effect of Paul’s preaching was greatly enhanced by the fact that the Lord testified to it by special manifestations of His power. He performed extraordinary miracles through the hands of Paul, signs that were unusual even in those days of astonishing deeds. When the apostle could not come in person, people took his sudaries, or handkerchiefs, and his little aprons, such as he girded about him as a sort of girdle, garments that had come in contact with his skin, and brought them to the sick, the result being that the sicknesses left, and that the evil spirits went forth, a graphic way of describing the complete healing of all manner of afflictions. All of these people put their faith in the Lord, whose servant Paul was, and therefore received this evidence of the Lord’s power. Note that Luke also here makes a distinction between sickness and demon possession.
The encounter with the exorcists: V.13. Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirit s the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. V.14. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew and chief of the priests, which did so. V.15. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are yep V.16. And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. V.17. And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. The success of Paul in expelling demons made a great impression upon some Jewish exorcists that were in Ephesus at that time. It seems that this form of demoniac healing was practiced by certain wandering or strolling exorcists, who went from one city to another and attempted to drive out the evil spirits by adjuring them in the name of some prophet, the men in this instance being the seven sons of a Jew named Skeua, either the head of one of the twenty-four courses of priests at Jerusalem, or related to the high-priestly family. These men in the present case undertook to use the name of the Lord Jesus as a spell to charm with, to gain power over the evil spirit. Their formula, which they individually used, was: I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches. It is a stratagem and deceit of the devil to use the Word of God, the name of God and the name of Jesus, to perform his dark and devilish tricks. It was an abuse of the name of God, a criminal, blasphemous game, which they were playing. But they found their punishment with unexpected suddenness. For the evil spirit in the man whom they were trying to heal answered them that he knew Jesus, was fully familiar with His power and authority, and that he was also acquainted with Paul, some other spirits having experienced the miraculous power that dwelt in him, but who might they be, to use the name of both in such an assured manner? That was an expression of sneering contempt, since the devil would not recognize their superiority and refused to heed their adjuration. And what is more: their self-satisfied assurance filled the evil spirit with fury. The man whose body he controlled sprang upon them like an infuriated beast, mastered them with the greatest ease (two of them being present upon this occasion), and overpowered them completely; they were like helpless infants in his hands. With their clothes torn from their bodies and covered with wounds they fled out of the house which they had entered with such great confidence. Instead of coming back in triumph, they crept back in shame and disgrace. And the story became known to all the inhabitants of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks, causing fear to fall upon them all. As a consequence, the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified, was highly praised, and continued to receive praise from an increasing number of disciples. Thus the plans of the devil to hinder and interfere with the work of the Lord only result in the furtherance of His kingdom.
A further result of this event: V.18. And many that believed came and confessed, and showed their deeds. V.19. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men; and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. V.20. So mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed. The beating which the exorcists received in consequence of their unwarranted use of the name of Jesus had a good effect also upon the disciples that had come to faith, that had joined the congregation at Ephesus. The fear that Jesus was mightier than all idols and demons was spread far and wide, Now, the city of Ephesus, like most of the large cities of that day, was full of witchcraft and superstition. And this fact was here brought out in a remarkable way, since fear of punishment opened the mouth of many. They confessed, openly declared, their wrongdoings in this respect; they disclosed the magic spells which they had used. And many of those that had practiced magical arts collected their books on these subjects, burning them openly, in the sight of all the people. They also computed the price of these books and found it to be fifty thousand pieces of silver, almost ten thousand dollars. “Their value depended not so much on their number or their size as on their contents; for they contained plainly written directions for the performance of tricks of jugglery and magic, and the purchaser, by a little practice, could be just as skillful a juggler as the original owner.” So did the Word of the Lord grow with power, with such irresistible force did it persuade the hearts of men and gain new converts. And such strength did it exhibit in changing the hearts of these converts that they voluntarily renounced all connection with superstition and witchcraft. This power of God, even today, is exerted through the Word and shows the same results. The foolishness of men’s perverted minds, together with the power of the kingdom of darkness, is helpless before the power of God in His Word.
The Tumult of Demetrius. Acts 19, 21-41.
Some plans of Paul: V.21. After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Pacedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome. V.22. So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; But he himself stayed in Asia for a season. After these things had been accomplished, after the Gospel had scored this great victory over the powers of darkness and over the hearts of men, Paul made up his mind, not according to some temporary notion, but under the direction of the Holy Ghost. As the work of the Church at all times is under His government, so He, in those early days, directed the steps of His missionaries in wonderful ways, chap. 16, 6-10. Paul planned to make a missionary trip through Macedonia and Achaia, where the congregations at Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, and Corinth, and possibly one at Athens and in a number of other cities, could well make use of his counsel, encouragement, and admonition, after which he intended to travel to Jerusalem. His own personal wish and desire was, after he had made these journeys, to see Rome, the capital of the entire empire. Since he could not leave at once, he sent two of his assistants in advance, two of the younger men that ministered to him while they were perfecting their knowledge of theology, namely, Timothy and Erastus. These two were to proceed to Macedonia first, but with instructions to visit Achaia also and there to inform the congregation at Corinth concerning Paul’s ways and teaching, 1 Cor. 4, 17; 16, 10. Paul himself stayed in Ephesus for some time longer, though the congregations in the house of Aquila and Priscilla and elsewhere in the province were by this time well established, 1 Cor. 16, 19. This addition to this stay (v.10) made the total length of time spent in Ephesus nearer three years than two, chap. 20, 31.
The speech of Demetrius: V.23. And the same time there arose no small stir about that way. V.24. For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; v.25. whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. V.26. Moreover, ye see and hear that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods which are made with hands, v.27. so that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at naught, but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshipeth. At that same time, when the apostle had sent Timothy and Erastus ahead to Macedonia, a tumult of no small proportions was started in Ephesus on account of the way which Paul taught, the Gospel proclamation with all it included. For in the city lived a certain man, a silversmith, Demetrius by name, the master of the guild for that year, as some think. An ancient inscription even makes it probable that he was the president of the city board of magistrates at that time. The silversmiths of Ephesus did a lucrative business in those days by selling small models of the shrine of the goddess Diana, of the great temple of Ephesus, as souvenirs. This temple was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, 425 by 220 feet in size, and gloriously beautiful with its white marble columns supporting the roof. Some of the porphyry columns now in Santa Sophia at Constantinople are said to have been taken from it. “The temple was venerated over all of western Asia Minor. To it came many pilgrims every year, to whom Ephesian silversmiths sold little replicas of the temple. It was because Christianity became so popular through the preaching of Paul that the profitable sale of these shrines was interfered with, that the riot in Ephesus occurred.” 78) “These ‘shrines’ were not mere statuettes of the goddess, but were probably miniature representations of the temple shrine which were sometimes dedicated to the goddess as votive offerings, sometimes, doubtless, kept in the homes, or placed in graves by the side of the dead.” 79) Naturally, this business brought a great deal of money to the silversmiths, and, just as naturally, anything that tended to interfere with this business and thus touch the craftsmen in their most sensitive spot, the question of income, was denounced with great resentment. The speech of Demetrius to his fellow-craftsmen, a formal meeting of whom he had called, contains the charges in a very frank way, namely, that Paul was hurting their business, and that he was interfering with the worship of Diana. They all knew that they were making a very comfortable living out of this business. And now they saw it before their eyes and heard it daily that the activities of this man Paul were not confined to the city of Ephesus itself, but that he had, in almost the entire province of Asia, persuaded and turned away a great multitude from the ancient form of worship, because he said that those figures which are made by the hands of men are no gods. This testimony out of the mouth of one of the enemies, although it must be discounted to some extent as an exaggeration with the purpose of making an impression, still paints an impressive picture of the success of Paul’s labors. If the amount of business had been reduced to such an extent that all the members of the craft felt the effects, the number of converts to Christianity, together with the moral influence of their outspoken or implied disapproval, must have been very large. But Demetrius skillfully puts his emphasis on the second charge. He implies that the loss of their income might be borne yet, that the danger which was threatening this branch of their trade in bringing it into contempt was not the most serious aspect of the situation, but this he urges as his real complaint, that the sanctuary of the great goddess Artemis (Diana) would fall into bad repute, would no longer be regarded, and that she would even be deposed from her magnificence, and her majesty, glory, and praise be lowered, although, as the speaker points out, all of Asia and the whole world worshiped her. Both the Greeks and the Romans revered this goddess very highly, and though only the people of Asia Minor made regular pilgrimages to this temple, it was known in every part of the civilized world, and was duly given the homage which the average heathen gave to the gods about whom he received instruction. The speech of Demetrius was that of a shrewd demagog, who knew well how to play upon the passions of the people by touching upon their most sensitive points: love of money and religious superstition.
The effect of the speech: V.28. And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians! V.29. And the whole city was filled with confusion; and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theater. V.30. And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not. V.31. And certain of the chiefs of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theater. V.32. Some therefore cried one thing, and some another; for the assembly was confused, and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together. V.33. And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defense unto the people. V.34. But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice, about the space of two hours, cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians! If Demetrius intended to kindle a fire, he certainly was successful beyond his design. No sooner had he closed his speech than some member of the guild or some other person in the audience coined a catchy phrase which struck the popular fancy: Great is Artemis of the Ephesians! And, full of anger as they were, the others took up the cry and carried it out to the street. In less time than it takes to tell about it, the disturbance had spread to all quarters; it filled the city, and surged back and forth like various liquids that have been poured together and cannot become settled. The streets being far too narrow for a proper show of mob violence, agitators and rabble alike were struck by the idea at the same time and rushed into the large theater, probably the largest in the world, its diameter being 495 feet and its capacity 24,500 people. But on their way, in their mad rush, they managed to seize and to carry along with them two fellow-lodgers of Paul, the Macedonians Gaius and Aristarchus. The latter is mentioned also in other passages as a native of Macedonia, of the city of Thessalonica, chap. 20, 4; 27, 2. It is probable that these two men, here mentioned as attendants of Paul, were delegates of the Thessalonian congregation who were with Paul carrying the contribution to the congregation at Jerusalem. These faithful men being in danger of their lives, Paul firmly intended to go out and face the angry mob, in order to shield them with his own life; but this the members of the congregation would not permit. To the infuriated mob his appearance at that time would have been like a red rag, and, according to all possibility, could have accomplished nothing. And the disciples were seconded in their endeavors by some of the leading men of the city, the Asiarchs, the chief priests of the Roman Empire in the provinces, whose duties included also the providing of games for the people. Some of these influential men were decidedly friendly to Paul, as this act of kindness shows, since they took the trouble of sending to him and earnestly begging him not to venture forth into the theater. In the mean time, the members of the mob were working themselves into a fine frenzy, for they continued to shout, some one thing and some another. There was no unity of thought and of leadership: it was an unlawful, tumultuous assembly, poured together like liquids that will not mix properly. And, as usual, when a rabble, a mob, springs from the ground upon such occasions, the majority of the people had no idea why they had really come together. At this point the Jews of the city, fearing that the fury of the mob might turn against them also, since Paul was a Jew, and since they themselves were opposed to idolatry, made the attempt to have one of their own number, a man by the name of Alexander, explain the situation to the surging multitude. The man tried to follow the instructions which he had received as the Jews pushed him to the front. But no sooner did he raise his hand, indicating to the people that he wanted to speak, and, in this case, to hold a speech of defense, than the intelligence went the rounds that he was a Jew. Whether they could all see plainly enough to distinguish his dress and features, or whether those nearest to the arena or stage passed the word along, the entire multitude, the infuriated mob, with one voice from them all, like the bellowing of some enraged monster, took up the phrase which had caught their fancy as one of the silversmiths had shouted it: Great is Artemis of the Ephesians! It was a wild demonstration of a lawless mob, but a comparatively harmless enjoyment, at that: it satisfied their idea of worship without hurting any one. The city authorities therefore did not interfere at this point, since any opposition would have inflamed the mob to acts of violence. They were evidently well versed in the psychology of the mob and bided their time.
The end of the riot: V.35. And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshiper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter? V.36. Seeing, then, that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly. V.37. For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess. V.38. Wherefore, if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies; let them implead one another. V.39. But if ye enquire anything concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly. V.40. for we are in danger to be called in question for this day’s uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse. V.41. And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly. With two hours’ continuous yelling, the fury of the mob had spent itself, its members were exhausted. And now the secretary of the city had no difficulty in quieting the people. “He was the most influential person in Ephesus, for not only were the decrees to be proposed drafted by him and the Strategoi [the magistrates], and money left to the city was committed to his charge, but as the power of the Ecclesia, the public assembly, declined under imperial rule, the importance of the secretary’s office was enhanced, because he was in closer touch with the court of the proconsul than the other city magistrates, and acted as a medium of communication between the imperial and municipal government.” 80) Addressing the assembly as citizens of Ephesus, he asks whether there is really any man that does not know the city of Ephesus to be the temple-keeper of the great Artemis and of the figure that fell down from heaven. The image of Artemis the Fruitful, a figure representing the goddess as life-giver and nourisher, was said to have fallen down from the sky, having been thrown down from the throne of Zeus, or Jupiter, their highest God. The speaker represented these things as facts, as self-evident, as unchallenged by any one, with the implication, of course, that there was no need of all this excitement, since all that they had said about their goddess was universally acknowledged. Now, he argued, since these things were without contradiction, since no one had publicly attacked these statements, the obvious duty of every one there present was to keep the peace and not to do anything rash. As for Gaius and Aristarchus, the two men whom they had accused indirectly, even if they did not bring a direct charge against them, they were neither robbers of the temple, nor had they blasphemed their goddess. The speaker here ignores the real charge against the disciples, that of denying that images made with hands are gods. He did not state the whole truth, being perhaps not even acquainted with it, but simply judged from the case as it appeared before him. Paul and his companions had never, as later fanatical missionaries and iconoclasts did, thrown down and destroyed heathen images, nor had they attempted to gain their point by abuse and bluster, but they had simply taught the truth and tried to convince the heathen of the vanity of their idols. If therefore Demetrius and his fellow-craftsmen felt that they had a case against any one, the court-meetings were going on at that very moment, sessions of the court were being held and the judges were present, the proconsul was on duty; let them therefore bring their charge. These simple rules, which must obtain in a well ordered state, should be followed, then there would be justice for all. But if the assembly desired to have any resolution passed concerning the future conduct of citizens or of residents of the city, such things were to be decided in a legal meeting, called in a legal manner and empowered to pass such resolutions, the present meeting not coming under this heading. He finally reminded the people of the possible consequences of their foolish acts. They all were in danger of being called to account for the riot of that day, in itself a serious matter, since it would not be possible for them to show any reason for this tumult. And the crowning bit of tactful diplomacy was the action of the secretary in dismissing the assembly. The words imply the usual formal dismissal, a motion to adjourn having been called for by the moderator and duly passed by the assembly. This trick would tend to give the meeting a lawful aspect and help to shield the people in case of an investigation. It was thus a skilful device of the secretary both to make the people still more heartily ashamed of themselves, and to make them feel indebted to him for keeping them out of greater difficulties. Note: The riot at Ephesus has its parallels in contemporary church history. The true preachers of the Gospel are no robbers of churches, no iconoclasts, no senseless blasphemers; but their duty is to show the heathen of our days the vanity of the modern idols, of the lust of the flesh, of the lust of the eyes, of the pride of life. And this position is bitterly resented by those that feel their guilt. Whenever they have an opportunity, therefore, they incite thoughtless people against the Church. The days of mob-rule are evidently not past yet. Since, however, an infuriated mob has no reason, the Christians will quietly wait and place their cause into the hands of God until they may confess the Word once more and build their Lord’s kingdom. The exalted Christ watches over His own in the midst of all dangers.
Summary. Paul labors at Ephesus for almost three years with great success, although the opponents try to harm the cause of Christ by inciting a tumult.