Saturday, June 9, 2012

Acts 19:28-34

Summary retelling of Acts 19:28-34

Demetrius got the rest of the crowd enraged.  They cried out that their goddess was indeed great.  The key word in what happens next is “confusion.”  The crowd was in so much confusion that they dragged two of Paul’s traveling companions with them.  When Paul tries to go among the crowd, his disciples and travelling companions would not let him go.  Inside the place where the crowd gathered, there was still confusion – most of the people didn’t even know why they were there.  A few people prompted Alexander – a Jew – to get up and speak.  When the crowd recognized that he was a Jew and not a follower of Artemis they would not let him speak.  They chanted over him every time he tried to speak.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
The crowd cried out that their goddess was indeed great (and for the record, the income that she brought the town was great, too J).  This story teaches us how amazingly quickly people can be brought into a riot.  It shows us how easily people can suspend the thinking part of their brain and simply react.  We like to think of ourselves as rational people – and in the right circumstances we absolutely are.  But in the wrong circumstance we are simply emotionally-driven people, able to be brought to frenzy for the simplest of reasons.

How true do you think this story represents real life?  Do most of the people around you seem to be rational thinkers or do you see more people that react first and think about it – maybe – later on?

Second Thought:
Paul’s friends wouldn’t let Paul go among the crowd.  This is pretty wise advice, if you ask me.  I’m sure Paul would have been brave enough to go among them, but we can see how interested the crowd was in listening to Alexander.  They certainly wouldn’t have listened to Paul!  Sometimes it is good to listen to our friends even when we have a point to prove – perhaps even a good spiritual point.  This is one important reason to understand the importance of the fellowship of the saints.

What could have happened had Paul gone into the crowd?  Is it possible that the outcome could have been good?  Bad?  What odds would you have given Paul?  Should we always make decisions based on if the odds are in our favor?  What is the best way to figure out a course of action besides looking at the odds of success?

Third Thought:
One of the big deals in this passage is the understanding of “Mob Mentality.”  The people are in a frenzy.  Most of them don’t even know why they are there.  People just want to be a part of a commotion.  What this really teaches us is that people want to have others make the decisions for them.  It sounds so completely backwards, but it is true.  We say we want to be independent … but look at what we do.  We devote our life to social media and social networks.  We devote our lives to television and computer games.  We devote ourselves to things that tell us how to think so that we can just react and feel good about it.

Do you agree with this assessment of humanity?  If this is true, how do we as individuals step up and ask God to help this not to be true in us?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 19:35-41
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