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Focus Verses: Acts 19:23-27
23 About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. 24 A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in no little business for the craftsmen. 25 He
called them together, along with the workmen in related trades, and
said: "Men, you know we receive a good income from this business. 26 And
you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray
large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole
province of Asia. He says that man-made gods are no gods at all. 27 There
is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also
that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited, and
the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia
and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty."
gives an account of Paul's efforts to take the message of Jesus to the
people of Ephesus. There he encounters a wide variety of opportunities
and opposition. In the short span of chapter nineteen we see him in the
synagogue (religious Jews), in the lecture hall (academics and
philosophers), confronting those who practiced sorcery (superstitious),
opposed by those who were followers of Artemis (pagan worship), and by
those who profited from the followers of Artemis (commercialism). The
message of Jesus was dangerous, according to Demetrius the silversmith,
because it would subvert their world.
Response and Action:
worded his opposition as a defense of the goddess Artemis, but it seems
pretty clear that his greatest concern was the lost profits he would
suffer if Artemis worship were to stop. I need to remember that
opposition to the message of Jesus might be worded in one way, but
actually be rooted in something altogether different.
message of Jesus is dangerous. To accept the truth of Christ may indeed
require the loss of profits, the change of career (Demetrius), the
burning of a book (sorcery), the risk of seeming less than intellectual
(lecture hall), and the rejection of long-held traditions (synagogue).
God, help me to recognize the false and selfish "reasons" I may be
using to justify half-hearted discipleship. And as I share the message
of Jesus with those around me, help me to remember that it may not sound
like good news—in fact, it may sound dangerous and threatening as it
challenges lifestyles, beliefs, and practices. Help me to respond to the
real reasons people oppose the message of Jesus, not necessarily the
spoken reasons. In all conversations, give me grace and charity. Give me
the humility and integrity to be honest about the ways Jesus challenges
and threatens me as well. Amen.
Spiritual Formation Verses: Matthew 16:24-25
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.
Six Dangerous Questions to Transform Your View of the World
by Paul Borthwick