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Posts Tagged ‘Demetrius’

Verses 30-32: “And when Paul wanted to go in to the people, the disciples would not allow him. Then some of the officials of Asia, who were his friends, sent to him pleading that he would not venture into the theater. Some therefore cried one thing and some another, for the assembly was confused, and most of them did not know why they had come together.”

War Eagle! Roll Tide! Go Dawgs! Avengers Assemble! It’s Clobberin’ Time! Hulk Smash! Hey, Rube!

What do all these phrases have in common? For the most part, they are colorful rallying cries or battle phrases. The last one, “Hey, Rube!” was especially used as a warning cry by carnival workers in years long past to rally other carnies to their aid if one was threatened by an outsider. In most cases, these phrases mean something to those that know them, and know what it means when they’re yelled out.

In this section of Acts 19, the rallying cry used by the pagan Ephesians was “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” Demetrius and his union of fellow silversmiths had stirred up a hornet’s nest of a mob, with everyone piling into the amphitheater in Ephesus. Bordering on a full-scale riot, there were others who came as well, just to see what the hubbub was about. The Ephesian disciples, fearing for Paul’s safety, wouldn’t let him in. What I find incredulous was that, with so many people packed into the theater area, “most of them did not know why they had come together.” Could you imagine our modern-day media reporters trying to conduct interviews with the locals there? (“So why are you here, sir?” “Uh…I don’t know.”) Even the Jews opposed to Paul tried to push Alexander to the platform to offer a defense (and distance themselves from Paul), but by this time, any non-Diana worshipper was treated the same. The Scriptures tell us that most of the mob were yelling “Great is Diana of the Ephesians” for almost two hours (sounds like modern day football games or recent political rallies, take your pick!)

So how was Paul rescued from this predicament? The answer shouldn’t be surprising, if you know the power of the Lord!

More to come…

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Verses 25-26: “He called them together with the workers of similar occupation, and said: “Men, you know that we have our prosperity by this trade. Moreover you see and hear that not only at Ephesus, but throughout almost all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are not gods which are made with hands.”

It never fails: I’ve heard people complain when their favorite sports teams, pro or college, raise ticket prices. Seems like some prices never go back down, but always go up! Fans get enraged, film themselves burning the jersey of their team, or appear on news segments up in arms about it. However, this doesn’t seem to bother the sports teams…they make their money anyway! Many times I’ve heard that the only way to get their attention is to “hit them in the pocketbook” and refuse to buy tickets. When such organized efforts rarely happen, the owners of these teams finally sit up and take notice.

Paul, with his preaching and spreading of the Gospel in Ephesus and elsewhere, had attracted a new opposition. A man named Demetrius, a silversmith by trade, had organized a group of his fellow craftsmen together. Why? Because thanks to the spread of Christianity, the pagan worship of Diana, who had temples in Ephesus, was threatened. No temples, no silver worship articles that were made by…guess who? Yep, the local craftsmen. They were being “hit in the pocketbook”.

A quote by Mel Brooks from Blazing Saddles sums it up pretty well (and I’m referring to the edited version of the movie via ClearPlay! http://www.clearplay.org ) When he, as the bumbling Gov. William J. LePetomane, heard the request by the citizens of Rock Ridge demanding a new sheriff to combat the violence thrust upon their town, the governor declares to his cabinet members, “Gentlemen, we got to protect our phoney-baloney jobs! We gotta do something!” (paraphrased). That’s the bottom line of what Demetrius was talking about: ignoring the pagan worship, they were worried that their income was going to be severely impacted!

So what happened next? That’s a continuation…for another day!

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