I walked the streets that still stand, saw the ruts in the roads where chariots drove. A library stood at the end of one road and at the end of another, the theater where a near riot broke out because of Paul’s preaching.
Read the last half of Acts 19 to see how persecution broke out against Christians.
People turned on Paul and his colleagues because they feared financial loss (vs. 25) and damaged reputations (vs. 27). Rumors spread that the familiar — worship of Artemis — would be replaced by the foreign (vs. 27-28).
General confusion (29, 32), lack of reason (30, 33), and racism against Alexander, a Jew (34), all stoked the negative sentiment.
Finally the city clerk calmed the crowd – arguing, in effect, that a riot would hurt the ancient city’s reputation. He also said:
You have brought these men here, though they have neither robbed temples nor blasphemed our goddess…. As it is, we are in danger of being charged with rioting because of what happened today. In that case we would not be able to account for this commotion, since there is no reason for it.” (vs. 37, 40) Niv
Bottom line, there was absolutely no reasonable basis for the persecution. None. The people of Ephesus got worked up against Christianity almost to the point of rioting.
It was a vapor-riot.
Motivated by… smoke and mirrors?
Today’s Readings: 2 Chronicles 28:1-29:36, Psalm 84:8-12, Proverbs 21:6-8, Acts 19:23-41. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts. Your daily blogger, Holiday Longing (Reproduce with permission only).