Chris W. Dial on Acts 19-20
Ephesus: A City of Adventure
Ephesus always seemed like an adventure for Paul. Some disciples were baptized there in the name of Jesus Christ and received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Then he speaks in the synagogue for three months, and heard some guys talking bad about the Way, so he and his disciples walked out, and he began talking in the halls of Tyrannus. After two years, most of Asia had heard of him. The hall of Tyrannus was a cool place to be, because of how hot Ephesus used to get by midday.
While he is there, he and Luke get acquainted with the seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish high priest. Because they saw how God was working through Paul, these sons decide that God was working through them too. They decided to cast out an evil spirit. They tried to cast out the evil spirit by invoking Jesus' name and Paul's. Unfortunately for them, Jesus and Paul, the evil spirit knew, but the sons of Sceva he did not know. The man with the evil spirit then proceeded to beat them up.
Then a silversmith by the name of Demetrius started a riot, because Paul was converting his customers away. So Demetrius stirred up the craftsmen to go after Paul and his disciples. After all, what right does Paul have to interfere with the money being made from the worship of the goddess Artemis? But the town clerk calmed them down.
He told the crowd that they were in danger of being charged by the Romans with rioting. He dismissed the crowd, and they all went home. After Paul left, he called the Ephesians elders to him in Miletus. He tells them, that everywhere he has gone, the Holy Spirit has warned him about the dangers he would be facing. That he would always be in danger of being imprisoned, or killed. He also tells them to watch out for their members, who are like flocks that wolves want come among and devour. And to remember that Christ said, "It is better to give than to receive.” It is interesting what he told them about the Holy Spirit. Because a couple of chapters later, he seems to do the opposite of what the Holy Spirit tells him to do.
What does it show us, that Paul had all this trouble in Ephesus? What is that to us today? Maybe what it is, is that when we try to do God's work, or will, life is not always going to go smoothly. As the Holy Spirit warned Paul in Acts 20:22-23, that every city imprisonment and affliction awaits him. The Holy Spirit will guide us to the work to be done. But we need to listen to all that He has to tell us. And be aware that wherever He sends us, we could be hurt, or killed. Despite that, we still need to do the work when we receive a calling to a mission near or far.
Chris W. Dial
Chris W. Dial was born in Miami, Oklahoma but grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the Church of Christ. He graduated in 1981 from Oklahoma Christian University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Bible. He attends Journey Church of Christ and works for the Tulsa County Court Clerk's Office in the Records Department.