Saturday, October 27, 2012

the business of religion

Good morning sisters and brothers,
There were many different reasons people opposed the message about Jesus. In our passage for today, we hear about one we don't think of often. In this passage the silver-smith lobby encourages a demonstration against Christian teachers because they worry the spread of the Christian faith will take away from those who use statues to worship other gods. They think about this danger both from a religious and financial standpoint, since their livelihood came from building images of the goddess who was popular in Ephesus. 

The other side that is interesting is seeing how the government reacts. The town clerk addresses the crowd and basically argues that the government's job is to promote peace. Christians are not a threat as long as they aren't disrespectful to other faiths. This is a fun story and a good exploration into one role of government.

God bless,


Acts 19:23-40
23About that time no little disturbance broke out concerning the Way. 24A man named Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the artisans. 25These he gathered together, with the workers of the same trade, and said, “Men, you know that we get our wealth from this business. 26You also see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost the whole of Asia this Paul has persuaded and drawn away a considerable number of people by saying that gods made with hands are not gods. 27And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be scorned, and she will be deprived of her majesty that brought all Asia and the world to worship her.” 

28When they heard this, they were enraged and shouted, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29The city was filled with the confusion; and people rushed together to the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s travel companions. 30Paul wished to go into the crowd, but the disciples would not let him; 31even some officials of the province of Asia, who were friendly to him, sent him a message urging him not to venture into the theater.

32Meanwhile, some were shouting one thing, some another; for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together. 33Some of the crowd gave instructions to Alexander, whom the Jews had pushed forward. And Alexander motioned for silence and tried to make a defense before the people. 34But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two hours all of them shouted in unison, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 

35But when the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, “Citizens of Ephesus, who is there that does not know that the city of the Ephesians is the temple keeper of the great Artemis and of the statue that fell from heaven? 36Since these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. 37You have brought these men here who are neither temple robbers nor blasphemers of our goddess. 38If therefore Demetrius and the artisans with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls; let them bring charges there against one another. 39If there is anything further you want to know, it must be settled in the regular assembly. 40For we are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion.” 41When he had said this, he dismissed the assembly.

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