Daily Word

A dose of reason | Acts 19:35-41

35 After quieting the crowd, the town clerk *said, “Men of Ephesus, what person is there after all who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is guardian of the temple of the great [ae]Artemis and of the image which fell down from [af]the sky? 36 So, since these are undeniable facts, you ought to keep calm and to do nothing rash. 37 For you have brought these men here who are neither temple robbers nor blasphemers of our goddess. 

38 So then, if Demetrius and the craftsmen who are with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are in session and [ag]proconsuls are available; have them bring charges against one another. 39 But if you want anything beyond this, it shall be settled in the [ah]lawful [ai]assembly. 40 For indeed, we are in danger of being accused of a riot in connection with today’s events, since there is no real reason for it, and in this connection we will be unable to account for this disorderly gathering.” 41 After saying this he dismissed the [aj]assembly.

Acts 19:35-41 (NASB) 中文

3rd Missionary trip

If you’ve been tracking with us, you know 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. How does it end? What happened to Paul?

Get grounded

Well, we see that the city mayor takes the stage to quell the riotous mob. He’s a local so he knows how to wisely appeal to them to settle them down. But it’s a common negotiating technique: build them up. He grounds them what they all accept (wrongly) as the “truth” about who Artemis is and Ephesus’ special place in her worship. “Why are you all riled up about this? There’s no disputing these facts. So settle down. These guys haven’t committed any crime!” And they listen to him. He has authority and is believable.

A dose of reason

He doesn’t deny their rights to seek damages but he wisely gives them a dose of reason. “This is why we live in a civil society. Use the system to make your claim.” And he ends his wise appeal with a reminder of the consequences. If they continue in this manner, it could bring trouble from Rome – maybe more troops or more taxes – or both. No one wants that. He then takes the bold move to dismiss them. He was a wise and diplomatic man; maybe even sent by God to settle this matter.

RЯeflection

  • It can be helpful to learn negotiating techniques. Not for the purpose of getting your way in a matter but for pursuing righteousness in the face of greed, evil, unrighteousness or just misunderstanding. A big part is having a strong foundation and being humble. And for Christians, the foundation is faith in Christ, the Rock.
  • Obviously Christians don’t own the market on wisdom and reason. We can recognize it in non-Christians, and benefit from it.
wisdom
Philosopher in Meditation-Rembrandt. Image from eternalisedofficial.com *

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