Thursday 26th January 2017 - Daily Reading:
Acts 19 - I Predict A Riot by Karen Cowling

In this chapter we see Paul and his companions move on to Ephesus. God does many miracles so that even handkerchiefs Paul had touched were taken to the sick and they were healed. This is like when the woman with the issue of blood touched Jesus' cloak and was healed. It wasn't the actual cloth that did it but the faith that God would heal them.

However Ephesus was a town with a huge temple not dedicated to God. A lot of them worshipped Artemis, the Greek goddess of fertility, healing and illness. This goddess was viewed as so special to the Ephesians that the temple built to her, that was up at the time Paul went, was one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world. So as you can imagine, when a silversmith called Demetrius saw how Paul and his companions were telling people they did not need gods made by human hands but to have faith in Jesus, this did not go down well. This was his business, his livelihood that was going to be slowly done away with as the need for little statues of the goddess dwindled as people came to know Christ. Demetrius and some men of similar trades managed to rally around the majority of the town against the Christians (still known as the Way in most places). They grabbed Gaius and Aristarchus and took them into a big amphitheatre. Paul was held back from going, even begged by some of his friends. It seems the whole town were there as it says in verse 32: The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there. Then when a Jew is pushed forward to talk to them the whole crowd shouts for two hours: "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!

Eventually a city clerk comes forward, quietens them down and tells them to do things properly or other towns will just think they are rioting and so uncivilised (being civilised was something the ancient Greeks prided themselves with).

This is what today's society seems to be like now when it comes to Christianity. Some people who feel the Bible is wrong about something gather likeminded people, rally others together and get some people so confused that they don't even know why they are there, just that they should be.

We need to pray for our nation, pray for those who govern it, and pray for Christians in politics. It's not an easy job, they need a lot of guidance and a lot of grace and ultimately Christ at the centre.

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