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Acts 19 v 21 - 41

There is something very modern about the issues the apostles faced in this thrilling story. Remember that the Pax Romana enabled people to travel more easily and the great Roman roads brought wealth to the cities and towns alongside them. Visitors would come to Ephesus and take away small trinkets, such as the little model shrines silversmiths such as Demetrius made. The issue for him and his fellow silversmiths was all about loss of trade, but yet some of Paul's followers were in danger from the mob. We can see the lack of character in such as Demetrius and how they can affect the peace of regular citizens; we can see how that the prejudices of people can be stirred up so that they are capable of doing shocking things: even then there was a deep distrust of Jews. We can also see that it takes a wise and bold man to pacify the mob. The Mayor, in other versions-'The Town Clerk' was that man and he spoke so well that things calmed down-20 v 1. Also, we are introduced to Gaius and Aristarchus: Gaius was from Macedonia and his name was popular in the First Century, so there are others named Gaius in the New Testament, but they were from different places. Aristarchus was also a Macedonian from Thessalonica and is mentioned elsewhere: he travelled with Paul to Rome-Acts 27 v 2; Paul described him as a fellow prisoner and labourer in his letters to the Colossians chapter 4 verse 10 and in Philemon chapter 1 verse 24. It is important for us to recognise that Paul had a retinue of workers with him who made it possible for Paul to do the preaching and debating he did. We only know about these two particular men because the mob threatened them.

Just before this event, Luke tells the reader that Paul aimed to go to Jerusalem and this was to take a collection from all of his Gentile congregations to bless the poverty-stricken church at Jerusalem. We can find references to this collection in 1 Corinthians 16 v 1-4; 2 Corinthians 9 v 1-15 and Romans 15 v 25-26. In Paul's mind this would emphasis the unity of the Church. After that, his goal was Rome!

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