Today my wife continues her Mediterranean cruise and gets the opportunity to explore the ancient city of Ephesus, which is in present-day Turkey and near Selcuk, Izmir Province. (Map below, for perspective)
Today, Jamie will get to explore and check out all kinds of cool stuff – the Roman Library of Celsus, the awesome theater still standing, the House of the Virgin Mary, the Gate of Augustus, the Tomb of John the Apostle and the Temple of Artemis, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. All very cool and spectacular stuff – I’m envious!
That aside, when I think of Ephesus I think of Paul the Apostle. In the way of history, we know Paul spent much time there preaching of Jesus Christ to them and baptizing them in Jesus, so they would receive the Holy Spirit (as they didn’t know about this prior to Paul). All very cool stuff and an amazing testimony for current day missions efforts.
What stands out specifically is the story of Demetrius, the craftsman. This guy made silver shrines to Artemis, the goddess who the Ephesians worshiped. So, he wasn’t too cool with the fact that Paul came in telling these Ephesians that man-made gods are no gods at all (Acts 19:26). As Scripture says, God did amazing work through Paul in Ephesus. He was leading people to Christ – telling people that they no longer needed to worship statues, temples etc… they could place their trust and faith in the most powerful – God!
Unfortunately, Demetrius was a selfish dude and incited the city to a riot. Causing them to retreat from the teaching and preaching of Jesus. He convinced the Ephesians to rebel by citing that their trade would suffer (literally, their ability to make money if they stopped put their faith in Jesus), Artemis would lose her good name and be robbed of her majesty. The people bought in and proceeded to shout “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians” (Acts 19:28) and continue the uproar.
So the question now is, what is your current day Artemis? Because of this false truth in Artemis – people were convinced to worship man-man statues – they were putting their trust, their worship, their praise and energy into essentially….nothing. Therefore, they were led astray of the truth of the Gospel of Christ because of this belief and worship in nothing, which had strong chains. It bound them to their trade, desire for riches and fame.
So again, what is your current day Artemis? Are you falling into the trap of putting your hope, pleasure and trust in “stuff”? Consider what Christ said:
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. (Matthew 6:19)