Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Ephesus was the home of the temple of Artemis (one of the 7 wonders of the Ancient world – along with the gardens of Babylon, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Colossus of Rhodes, etc. ). The temple of Artemis was a major economic source for the artisans and merchants of Ephesus. Ephesus was also a center of the Gnostic philosophy and was the final home of Jesus mother, Mary and the youngest of the Apostles, John, son of Zebedee. This region of Asia Minor was to be the heart of John’s Apostleship.
Paul is making inroads with the Gospel. He spends two years there working in a lecture hall, the Synagogue and other places. The Church in Ephesus was strong and gaining strength. Paul’s stay in Ephesus was also accompanied by some amazing miracles. Eventually it leads (ready for the all too familiar theme) to riots. This riot is caused by the artisans and the merchants who make their livelihood from making idols and selling them in the market around Artemis’ temple.
The clerk in Ephesus is most concerned about civil unrest and rioting. Under Roman rule, on the short list of things the Romans would not tolerate was rioting and civil unrest. If the clerk cannot calm the crowd Ephesus is at risk of military intervention to quell the riot.