Daily Word

Stoking the mob | Acts 19:28-34

28 At this their anger boiled, and they began shouting, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 Soon the whole city was filled with confusion. Everyone rushed to the amphitheater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, who were Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia. 30 Paul wanted to go in, too, but the believers wouldn’t let him. 31 Some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, also sent a message to him, begging him not to risk his life by entering the amphitheater.

32 Inside, the people were all shouting, some one thing and some another. Everything was in confusion. In fact, most of them didn’t even know why they were there. 33 The Jews in the crowd pushed Alexander forward and told him to explain the situation. He motioned for silence and tried to speak. 34 But when the crowd realized he was a Jew, they started shouting again and kept it up for about two hours: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians! Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

Acts 19:28-34 (NLT) 中文

3rd Missionary trip

Paul is on his 3rd missionary journey to visit his church plants and “strengthen all the disciples”. He’s now in Ephesus where he preached in the synagogue for 3 months before getting frustrated and setting up shop for 2 years in a school. Great miracles were happening in Jesus’ name. News of miracles and the name of Jesus spread far and wide. The business of the local craftsman started to suffer as more turned to Christ worship from Artemis worship so they caused a riot that we see today.

Stoking the mob

The mob was going crazy. They had been stoked to a feverish boiling point. I guess they had nothing else to do since business was down. Poor Gaius and Aristarchus were grabbed and brought into the amphitheater to suffer for Paul. Maybe Paul was not at home when the mob came knocking. His friends in high positions urged Paul to not try to go in and defend himself; this mob was not in a good mood or ready to reason. “Paul apparently desired to use this occasion to preach the gospel to the assembled throng in the theater.” (planobiblechapel.org) He never stopped!

Riot peaks

The mob reaches such a frenzy that most who are there don’t even know what it’s all about! Can you imagine? They probably just joined in for the excitement or, to express pent-up anger. Then some of the Jews grab Alexander and nominated him to represent them to the mob.

“Apparently Alexander was a leading unbelieving Jew who wanted the crowd to understand that, even though Paul was a Jew, the local Jewish community did not approve of him (cf. 18:12-17) … Perhaps the crowd assumed that Alexander wanted to defend Paul as a fellow Jew.” (planobiblechapel.org) Knowing he was a Jew somehow caused the mob to go into a crazed chant. Stay tuned to see what happens to Alexander … and Paul.

RЯeflection

  • Mob violence is not a pleasant thing. The news is always covering riots everywhere and we almost get numb to it. Why do they exist? The answer lies in James 4:1-4, “What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?” It goes on to explain further.
  • The mob cheering for their false god. Does it remind you a bit of other events in stadiums where the crowd shouts the name of their, well, idol? Rather than judge, let’s show compassion and give them the truth, The Truth! 
Angry man in crowd pointing. Image from planetizen.com *

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