Acts 19:23-28 Video Devotional

“About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way. For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen. These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship.” When they heard this they were enraged and were crying out, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”” (Acts 19:23-28)

As if the seven sons of Sceva weren’t enough craziness to happen during Paul’s time in Ephesus, he gets into a situation that caused great confusion and commotion when he pitted up against the craftsmen who designed and created statues of Artemis for the city. I think this story is part of the reason Paul wrote the letter he did to the church in Ephesus later on.

One of the major themes that is repeated in the book of Ephesians is the idea of identity – who we are in Christ and how that fits into the world. Part of the reason Paul focused on this theme is because the city of Ephesus was deeply steeped into the worship of the goddess Artemis. With the city being a major cosmopolitan type of city, the Ephesians took strongly to their worship of Artemis. This caused struggles in the Ephesian church, as people were struggling to understand who they were in Christ, as opposed to Artemis.

This story in Acts 19 highlights this struggle and shows how tightly the people of Ephesus held to their false god. Thankfully, this conflict didn’t turn violent, but it certainly could have gone that way. Stories like this show us how far people can get pulled into false idols and worship of dead gods. The sons of Sceva thought they could play around in that territory with “power” and learned quickly there is only 1 with power. Here, we see the entire city trapped in worship of this false god.

The enemy is real and fighting with all his might for souls to destroy. This struggle is most certainly against the powers of darkness in the heavenly realms and they are still pulling out all the stops. People today may or may not be devoted to a specific false god (some certainly are), but everyone is trapped in idol worship – if not worshiping someone else, then certainly themselves. We cannot sit idly by without proclaiming the truth that can set them free. Share Jesus’ freedom and know it is their only hope!