You see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this man Paul has persuaded and misled a considerable number of people by saying that gods made by hand are not gods. (Acts 19:26)
People who don’t believe in Jesus will be tolerant of Jesus-lovers and Jesus-fanatics as long as it doesn’t disturb their livelihood or affect them directly. This is not a famous quote, but just a mere observation that I have witnessed in my life as a Christian, an overseas missionary, and a Christian leader. Today’s reading of Acts 19 had a lot of action taking place as Demetrius was successful in riling up the people in Ephesus to oppose the spread of Christianity (or The Way).
As Paul and the others were sharing the Good News of Jesus, people were believing and choosing to follow The Way. As a result, these same people stopped buying idols of the goddess Diana (Artemis) and they also stopped frequenting the temple. By doing this, people like Demetrius and their livelihoods were being adversely affected. Christianity should affect economies, not just personally, but in communities, as well.
I remember on the mission field in Asia, I heard about fellow co-workers in a nearby city who started praying for sick patients in the hospitals. With boldness and power from the Holy Spirit, they cried out to the God who heals, to heal these people with various illnesses and injuries. And God heard the prayers of His people, and responded by healing them. The end result was that the leadership of the hospitals stopped welcoming these Christians because the hospital was losing money with fewer patients needing care.
In the early 2000s, when I went on short-term mission trips to Asia, I watched a popular documentary in the Christian community called Transformations. This documentary shared true stories of cities that were transformed by the power of prayer, with Christians gathering together to plead for the lives of thousands of people, to see God transform these cities, and to see Revival take place. It is amazing to see what happens when God makes waves in the name of His Son, Jesus, drawing many people to Himself. Will you join God today to see this happen?