A Wonder of the World - Acts 19

A Wonder of the World

Acts 19:1-41

Ephesus was the most important Roman city in Asia Minor.  Its major attraction was the temple of the great goddess Diana, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.  The image within the temple was of a woman carved with many breasts, signifying the fertility of nature.  The original stone from which the image had been made was believed to have fallen from heaven.

Many people practiced magic, and there was a great interest in the occult.  Craftsmen who made silver shines of Diana prospered.  Itinerate Jewish exorcists tried to apply their trade, attempting to cast out evil spirits in the name of Jesus.

The first three months that Paul was at Ephesus he spoke boldly in the synagogue there, but "when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus." 

Ephesus appeared to be an unlikely place for a successful ministry, but after two years "all who dwelt in Asia (Minor) heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks."  At the same time "God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul."  Unusual miracles?  "Even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them."  Acts 19:10-12.  Evidence of God at work made a profound impression upon believers, resulting in reverential fear of the Lord and confession of sins.  Those who practiced magic burned their books, the value of which was equivalent to 50,000 pieces of silver.  The name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.

The silversmiths suffered a tremendous decline in business.  They caused much commotion and confusion in the city, as some believers were seized and people rushed into the large amphitheater not knowing why that had assembled together.  According to historians the amphitheater could accommodate up to 25,000 people.  For about two hours everyone cried, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians." 

The city clerk quieted the crowd, and said, "You have brought these men here who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of your goddess."  What a statement!  Justice prevailed in Ephesus, and no charges could be brought against those of the Way.

Many church leaders today who read this account see no relevance to ministry today.  They say, "That was then, and this is now."  One thing that we have in common is the word of God.  At Ephesus "the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed."  What God did at Ephesus is a true wonder of the world!

 

Heavenly Father, help us to get out the Word of life.  It's alive and powerful.  Thank You for filling us with Your Spirit.  We want to lift up and glorify the name of Jesus.  In His name we pray.  Amen!

 

Serving the Lord - Acts 20 

 
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