Friday, June 8, 2012

Acts 19:21-27

Summary retelling of Acts 19:21-27

After Paul had spent some time in Ephesus, he was determined to revisit the churches that he started in northern and southern Greece before returning to Jerusalem and then heading to Rome.  Paul sends Timothy and Erastus ahead of him into Macedonia and Achaia (northern & southern Greece) to get ready for his visit.  Just as Paul is making his final plans to visit Greece, a silversmith named Demetrius makes an attack against Paul.  Demetrius made silver tokens of the goddess Artemis, and it was the worship of Artemis that brought much money into Ephesus.  Demetrius brings together many of the craftsmen in Ephesus and begins to explain how Paul’s teaching about the true God of the Hebrews is causing a drop in the sales of goods.  Although he is concerned about the money, he makes it sound as though he is concerned about Artemis and her reputation.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
Paul wants to go back and visit with his prior churches.  No doubt he is curious about the work that has been happening in his absence.  No doubt he is also worried that the world has crept into them and their focus may not be as sharply on God as it should be.  Remember that he is also taking up a collection for the famine occurring in Jerusalem.  He has plenty of good reasons to want to head back through Greece.

Do you think it would mean much to the churches he planted to have Paul visit them again?  Why is it important to keep our spiritual connections active?

Second Thought:
Again Paul finds himself in a city where there is an uprising against what he is teaching.  What makes this city unique is that here it is the Gentiles that are rising up against Paul.  This teaches us that the enemies of God are potentially everywhere.  The hard reality is that we will never be able to tell the enemies of Christ from the followers of Christ until after we’ve spoken about Christ and we hear them respond.  We must be willing to take the message of Christ to the world regardless of the fact that they might turn against us.

Where do you think Paul kept getting his courage from in order to keep talking about Jesus Christ regardless of the persecution that came upon him?

Third Thought:
Demetrius is ultimately concerned about the money.  He is concerned about his ability to continue to make money from the world so that he can support his life.  His ability to make money is dependent upon his popularity and his own personal success.  He may not realize it, but he is clearly saying that he is choosing this life over the life God desires for him.  The root of this decision is his love for money – which is dependent upon his own self-mongerism.  What’s really sad is that for Demetrius, his religion simply becomes a front for him to feel good about his own self-centeredness.

What can we learn from Demetrius about the dangers of money?  What can we learn from him about a human’s ability to use religion to get what they want rather than to use religion to teach us what God wants?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 19:28-34
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