When they heard this, they were furious and began shouting: "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" Soon the whole city was in an uproar. The people seized Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul's traveling companions from Macedonia, and rushed as one man into the theater. Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him. Even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him not to venture into the theater. The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there.
Thoughts for Today:In our previous devotion, we found the merchants of Ephesus had come together to discuss how they were going to deal with the threat that Paul's ministry was bringing to their livelihood (the making and selling of idols). In today's passage they had now whipped both themselves and the whole city into an uproar. As a result, the frenzied crowd rushed into the theater ("the lecture hall of Tyrannus") where Paul was known to be teaching. I love the following comment by Luke the writer of Acts, "Most of the people did not even know why they were there."
The influence of others upon where we go, what we do, what we like, and how we behave can not be underestimated. Recently my daughter Amanda has decided she wants to start horseback riding and have her very own pony. Her mother and I have hoped she would grow out of this phase -- trying to explain all the effort and work involved in owning a horse. It seems this new interest is being fueled by her best friend Kiana who is taking horseback riding lessons with her Mom, as well as her cousin Heather who lives on a ranch in Idaho and rides regularly. I guess it could be worse than horseback riding.
I asked Amanda why she wanted to ride horses, she gave me some answers but let me suffice it to say, it wasn't the horses she had fallen in love with, just the fact that it was what her friends were doing. For those of us who are parents we see this kind of behavior in our children all the time. If you want to find out how your child got some new interest or obsession, just look at what their friends are involved in. The same is true for us as well. We can't help but be influenced by others and at the same time become an influence upon others. It works both ways -- positively and negatively.
Questions to Ponder:When I was in high school my cousin in Tennessee asked me, "What crowd do you run with?" That question has always stuck with me, because who I hang out with says a lot about me. For example, what interest binds me to my friends? Are they healthy interests, or destructive in any way? How can I be a more positive influence? God places us in relationship with both Christians and non-Christians alike. The question is: What or who has the most influence upon you -- the world or the Lord?