Day 203: Genealogy and Riots

1 Chronicles 4-6; Acts 19:21-41

Key Verses

Acts 19:28-30
When they heard this they were enraged and were crying out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” So the city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed together into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s companions in travel. But when Paul wished to go in among the crowd, the disciples would not let him.

In 1 Chronicles, the genealogy continues… But in Acts, there is quite the uproar!

This passage begins by outlining Paul’s travel itinerary that will comprise the rest of the book of Acts. He “resolved in his spirit” to visit the churches in Macedonia (Philippi, Thessalonica & Berea), then of Achaia or Greece (Corinth). He then planned to return to Jerusalem and ultimately, Rome (Acts 19:21).

Then the passage returns to events occurring in Ephesus. It would seem that Paul’s ministry was hurting the business of the idol-makers. One specific silver-smith, Demetrius, was especially perturbed, so he decided to assemble his cohorts and accused the disciples of slandering the “great goddess Artemis.” This small assembly multiplied into a riot – with all the crowds piling into the great amphitheater and shouting for TWO HOURS, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

Oh my. Now, let me interject… I’ve been to Ephesus. I’ve sat in this amphitheater and let me tell you…this isn’t some quaint outdoor theater! This place is HUGE. As I sat in this theater, I imagined the mob – screaming for two hours. It’s hard to imagine how loud it must have been. The whole city would have heard, for the amphitheater was close to the main thoroughfare of the city.

ephesus

Paul wanted to go to the theater. Who knows why! But, thankfully, the disciples prevented Paul from going. We learn something about Paul’s character. He was not a coward!

Here’s what’s cool…. Do you remember what the mob was screaming about? Artemis, the goddess. Have you ever heard of this goddess? Does she have any influence over your life? Did she change the course of history?? I didn’t think so.

The mob can scream all they want to – the fact is… the city of Ephesus and their precious goddess, Artemis, are in ruins. But Jesus, the God of creation and of all of history – stands forever.

Day 179: The Last Laugh

Jeremiah 49-50; Acts 5:17-42

Key Verses

Jeremiah 50:18-20
Therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing punishment on the king of Babylon and his land, as I punished the king of Assyria. I will restore Israel to his pasture, […] for I will pardon those whom I leave as a remnant.

Acts 5:29-31
But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.

Acts 5 is an amazing story of God’s protection and sovereign power as He sends his angel to free the apostles from prison. They were put in prison by the High Priest because he was enraged that the Apostles continued to preach in the name of Jesus…and the people were actually listening!

Imagine the surprise and humiliation of the High Priest and his council when they sent for the prisoners only to find them missing! And where were these Apostles? In the temple, teaching about the resurrected Christ!

As my 10-year-old would say… “Boom! In Your Face.” The power of the Jewish council was nothing in the face of God’s power and will. Their persecution would only serve to strengthen the church. Nothing could stand in God’s way.

As the Apostles stood before the Jewish council, the council was enraged at their boldness – so much that they wanted to kill them! But a practical Pharisee addressed his peers…

So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God! (Acts 5:38-39)

This is truth! The ways of men are like a shadow, but the ways of God are sure and strong!

Think of Jeremiah as he boldly prophesied against the powerful nations of his day. Imagine what Nebuchadnezzar might have thought of Jeremiah’s prophecies against his mighty Babylon (Jer. 50), the most powerful nation of its day… I think Nebuchadnezzar would have laughed.

But do you know what exists of ancient Babylon today?? Nothing. It is an uninhabited ruin.* God’s ways are sure and strong. He always gets the last laugh.

*ESV Study Bible, note on Jer. 50:39-40, Crossway Publishers

Day 203: Genealogy and Riots

1 Chronicles 4-6; Acts 19:21-41

In 1 Chronicles, the genealogy continues… But in Acts, there is quite the uproar :)

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…

This passage begins by outlining Paul’s travel itinerary that will comprise the rest of the book of Acts. He “resolved in his spirit” to visit the churches in Macedonia (Philippi, Thessalonica & Berea), then of Achaia or Greece (Corinth). He then planned to return to Jerusalem and ultimately, Rome (Acts 19:21).

Then the passage returns to events occurring in Ephesus. It would seem that Paul’s ministry was hurting the business of the idol-makers. One specific silver-smith, Demetrius, was especially perturbed, so he decided to assemble his cohorts and accused the disciples of slandering the “great goddess Artemis.” This small assembly multiplied into a riot – with all the crowds piling into the great amphitheatre and shouting for TWO HOURS, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

Oh my. Now, let me interject… I’ve been to Ephesus. I’ve sat in this amphitheatre and let me tell you…this isn’t some quaint outdoor theater! This place is HUGE. As I sat in this theatre, I imagined the mob – screaming for two hours. It’s hard to imagine how loud it must have been. The whole city would have heard, for the amphitheatre was close to the main thoroughfare of the city.

ephesus

Paul wanted to go to the theater. Who knows why! But, thankfully, the disciples prevented Paul from going. We learn something about Paul’s character. He was no coward, that’s for sure!

Here’s what’s cool…. Do you remember what the mob was screaming about? That’s right…Artemis, the goddess. Have you ever heard of this goddess? Does she have any influence over your life? Did she change the course of history?? I didn’t think so.

The mob can scream all they want to – the fact is… the city of Ephesus and their precious goddess, Artemis, are in ruins. But Jesus, the God of creation and of all of history – stands forever.

Day 179: The last laugh

Jeremiah 49-50; Acts 5:17-42

Acts 5 is an amazing story of God’s protection and sovereign power as He sends his angel to free the apostles from prison. They were put in prison by the High Priest because he was enraged that the Apostles continued to preach in the name of Jesus…and the people were actually listening!

Imagine the surprise and humiliation of the High Priest and his council when they sent for the prisoners only to find them missing! And where were these Apostles? In the temple, teaching about the resurrected Christ!

As my 10-year-old would say… “Boom! In Your Face.” The power of the Jewish council was nothing in the face of God’s power and will. Their persecution would only serve to strengthen the church. Nothing could stand in God’s way.

As the Apostles stood before the Jewish council, the council was enraged at their boldness – so much that they wanted to kill them! But a practical Pharisee addressed his peers…

So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or this undertaking is of man, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God! (Acts 5:38-39)

This is truth! The ways of men are like a shadow, but the ways of God are sure and strong!

Think of Jeremiah as he boldly prophesied against the powerful nations of his day. Imagine what Nebuchadnezzar might have thought of Jeremiah’s prophecies against his mighty Babylon (Jer. 50), the most powerful nation of its day… I think Nebuchadnezzar would have laughed.

But do you know what exists of ancient Babylon today?? Nothing. It is an uninhabited ruin.* God’s ways are sure and strong. He always gets the last laugh :)

*ESV Study Bible, note on Jer. 50:39-40, Crossway Publishers