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This Disorderly Gathering

Published March 18, 2017

Michael V Wilson
By Michael V. Wilson

The second half of chapter 19 of the Book of Acts tells the unusual story of an uproar in the city of Ephesus, over some silversmiths who were losing money because people were becoming followers of “The Way” – Christians.

It seems some silversmiths, led by a man named Demetrius, made their living fashioning silver shrines to the pagan goddess Diana. As people were converted by the teachings of the Apostle Paul and his companions, they turned away from worshiping Diana and no longer needed to buy anything from the silversmiths. Because the silversmiths were losing money, they created a huge uproar by shouting, “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!”

Verse 29 says the whole city was filled with confusion and rushed into the theater (an outdoor amphitheater where city business was conducted) and began shouting and carrying on crazy. Verse 32 even says most of the people there didn't know why they had come together. They were out there running around like a bunch of chickens with their heads cut off and didn't even know why!

Remind you of anything today?

When one of the Jews named Alexander wanted to speak, they “. . . all with one voice cried out for about two hours, 'Great is Diana of the Ephesians!'” Acts 19:34 [emphasis added] Toward the end of the chapter in verses 35-40, the city clerk remonstrated with the people over “this disorderly gathering.”

Ephesians-Burn-Books-disorderly-gatheringDoes this sound at all familiar?

The people of Ephesus spent two hours shouting down Alexander because they didn't want to hear what he had to say. Instead of listening respectfully and having a civil discourse, the know nothings (literally) in the crowd just shouted him down. It was basically a riot, a disorderly gathering.

How is this Biblical account of a riot 2000 years ago any different from accounts we read today about students shouting down Christians and conservatives they don't want to hear? “Protesters” today (so-called) almost never know what they're protesting. There are countless videos available on YouTube demonstrating their total ignorance of the issue(s) at hand. In many cases they're protesting for one thing when the real reason for the protest is something else entirely – as with the greedy silversmiths of Ephesus who triggered a religious riot. And they don't even know it!

Solomon was right in the Book of Ecclesiastes 1:9 when he said, “There is nothing new under the sun.”

But here's the key: if there is nothing new under the sun, that means we're not facing any new problems. They're just the same old problems with a face lift. It also means there aren't any new answers to those problems. The Bible, the very Word of God, and His Son Jesus Christ are the answers, the eternal, never ending answers to every problem under the sun.

Instead of shrinking from applying those eternal answers to today's problems, Christians need to learn from Paul and boldly trumpet those answers from the rooftops for all the world to hear!

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