While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior provinces. Finally, he came to Ephesus, where he found several believers. a2
"Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" he asked them. "No," they replied, "we don't know what you mean. We haven't even heard that there is a Holy Spirit."
"Then what baptism did you experience?" he asked.And they replied, "The baptism of John."
Paul said, "John's baptism was to demonstrate a desire to turn from sin and turn to God. John himself told the people to believe in Jesus, the one John said would come later."
As soon as they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Then when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in other tongues and prophesied.
There were about twelve men in all.
Then Paul went to the synagogue and preached boldly for the next three months, arguing persuasively about the Kingdom of God.
But some rejected his message and publicly spoke against the Way, so Paul left the synagogue and took the believers with him. Then he began preaching daily at the lecture hall of Tyrannus.
This went on for the next two years, so that people throughout the province of Asia -- both Jews and Greeks -- heard the Lord's message.
God gave Paul the power to do unusual miracles,
so that even when handkerchiefs or cloths that had touched his skin were placed on sick people, they were healed of their diseases, and any evil spirits within them came out.
A team of Jews who were traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus. The incantation they used was this: "I command you by Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!"
Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this.
But when they tried it on a man possessed by an evil spirit, the spirit replied, "I know Jesus, and I know Paul. But who are you?"
And he leaped on them and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and badly injured.
The story of what happened spread quickly all through Ephesus, to Jews and Greeks alike. A solemn fear descended on the city, and the name of the Lord Jesus was greatly honored.
Many who became believers confessed their sinful practices.
A number of them who had been practicing magic brought their incantation books and burned them at a public bonfire. The value of the books was several million dollars. b20
So the message about the Lord spread widely and had a powerful effect.
Afterward Paul felt impelled by the Holy Spirit c to go over to Macedonia and Achaia before returning to Jerusalem. "And after that," he said, "I must go on to Rome!"
He sent his two assistants, Timothy and Erastus, on ahead to Macedonia while he stayed awhile longer in the province of Asia.
But about that time, serious trouble developed in Ephesus concerning the Way.
It began with Demetrius, a silversmith who had a large business manufacturing silver shrines of the Greek goddess Artemis. d He kept many craftsmen busy.
He called the craftsmen together, along with others employed in related trades, and addressed them as follows: "Gentlemen, you know that our wealth comes from this business.
As you have seen and heard, this man Paul has persuaded many people that handmade gods aren't gods at all. And this is happening not only here in Ephesus but throughout the entire province!
Of course, I'm not just talking about the loss of public respect for our business. I'm also concerned that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will lose its influence and that Artemis -- this magnificent goddess worshiped throughout the province of Asia and all around the world -- will be robbed of her prestige!"
At this their anger boiled, and they began shouting, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!"
A crowd began to gather, and soon the city was filled with confusion. Everyone rushed to the amphitheater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, who were Paul's traveling companions from Macedonia.
Paul wanted to go in, but the believers wouldn't let him.
Some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, also sent a message to him, begging him not to risk his life by entering the amphitheater.
Inside, the people were all shouting, some one thing and some another. Everything was in confusion. In fact, most of them didn't even know why they were there.
Alexander was thrust forward by some of the Jews, who encouraged him to explain the situation. He motioned for silence and tried to speak in defense.
But when the crowd realized he was a Jew, they started shouting again and kept it up for two hours: "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians! Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!"
At last the mayor was able to quiet them down enough to speak. "Citizens of Ephesus," he said. "Everyone knows that Ephesus is the official guardian of the temple of the great Artemis, whose image fell down to us from heaven.
Since this is an indisputable fact, you shouldn't be disturbed, no matter what is said. Don't do anything rash.
You have brought these men here, but they have stolen nothing from the temple and have not spoken against our goddess.
If Demetrius and the craftsmen have a case against them, the courts are in session and the judges can take the case at once. Let them go through legal channels.
And if there are complaints about other matters, they can be settled in a legal assembly.
I am afraid we are in danger of being charged with rioting by the Roman government, since there is no cause for all this commotion. And if Rome demands an explanation, we won't know what to say."
Then he dismissed them, and they dispersed.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)