While Apollos was in Corinth, Sha'ul completed his travels through the inland country and arrived at Ephesus, where he found a few talmidim.
He asked them, "Did you receive the Ruach HaKodesh when you came to trust?" "No," they said to him, "we have never even heard that there is such a thing as the Ruach HaKodesh."
"In that case," he said, "into what were you immersed?" "The immersion of Yochanan," they answered.
Sha'ul said, "Yochanan practiced an immersion in connection with turning from sin to God; but he told the people to put their trust in the one who would come after him, that is, in Yeshua."
On hearing this, they were immersed into the name of the Lord Yeshua;
and when Sha'ul placed his hands on them, the Ruach HaKodesh came upon them; so that they began speaking in tongues and prophesying.
In all, there were about twelve of these men.
Sha'ul went into the synagogue; and for three months he spoke out boldly, engaging in dialogue and trying to persuade people about the Kingdom of God.
But some began hardening themselves and refusing to listen; and when these started defaming the Way before the whole synagogue, Sha'ul withdrew, took the talmidim with him, and commenced holding daily dialogues in Tyrannus's yeshivah.
This went on for two years; so that everyone, both Jews and Greeks, living in the province of Asia heard the message about the Lord.
God did extraordinary miracles through Sha'ul.
For instance, handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were brought to sick people; they would recover from their ailments; and the evil spirits would leave them.
Then some of the Jewish exorcists who traveled from place to place tried to make use of the name of the Lord Yeshua in connection with people who had evil spirits. They would say, "I exorcise you by the Yeshua that Sha'ul is proclaiming!"
One time, seven sons of a Jewish cohen gadol named Skeva were doing this;
and the evil spirit answered them. It said, "Yeshua I know. And Sha'ul I recognize. But you? Who are you?"
Then the man with the evil spirit fell upon them, overpowered them and gave them such a beating that they ran from the house, naked and bleeding.
When all this became known to the residents of Ephesus, fear fell on all of them, Jews and Greeks alike; and the name of the Lord Yeshua came to be held in high regard.
Many of those who had earlier made professions of faith now came and admitted publicly their evil deeds;
and a considerable number of those who had engaged in occult practices threw their scrolls in a pile and burned them in public. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, it came to fifty thousand drachmas.
Thus the message about the Lord continued in a powerful way to grow in influence.
Some time later, Sha'ul decided by the Spirit to pass through Macedonia and Achaia and then go to Yerushalayim. "After I have been there," he said, "I must visit Rome."
So he dispatched two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia; but he himself remained in the province of Asia for awhile.
It was at this time that a major furor arose concerning the Way.
There was a silversmith named Demetrius who manufactured from silver, objects connected with the worship of the goddess Artemis; and he provided no small amount of work for the craftsmen.
He called a meeting of them and of those engaged in similar trades, and said, "Men, you understand that this line of business provides us our living.
And you can see and hear for yourselves that not only here in Ephesus, but in practically the whole province of Asia, this Sha'ul has convinced and turned away a considerable crowd by saying that man-made gods aren't gods at all.
Now the danger is not only that the reputation of our trade will suffer, but that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will come to be taken lightly. It could end up with the goddess herself, who is worshipped throughout the province of Asia and indeed throughout the whole world, being ignominiously brought down from her divine majesty!"
Hearing this, they were filled with rage and began bellowing, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!"
Soon the whole city was in an uproar. As one man, the mob rushed into the theater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, Sha'ul's traveling companions from Macedonia.
Sha'ul himself wanted to appear before the crowd, but the talmidim wouldn't let him.
Even some of the officials of the province, friends of his, sent a message begging him not to risk entering the theater.
Meanwhile, some were shouting one thing and others something else, because the assembly was in complete confusion, and the great majority didn't even know why they were there.
Some of the crowd explained the situation to Alexander, whom the Jews had pushed to the front. So Alexander motioned for silence, hoping to make a defense speech to the people.
But as soon as they recognized that he was a Jew, they began bellowing in unison, "Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!" and they kept it up for about two hours.
At last, the city clerk was able to quiet the crowd. "Men of Ephesus!" he said, "Is there anyone who doesn't know that the city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis, and of the sacred stone which fell from the sky?
Since this is beyond dispute, you had better calm down and not do anything rash.
For you have brought these men here who have neither robbed the temple nor insulted your goddess.
So if Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open and the judges are there - let them bring charges and counter-charges.
But if there is something more you want, it will have to be settled in a lawful assembly.
For we are in danger of being accused of rioting on account of what has happened today. There is no justification for it; and if we are asked, we will be unable to give any reasonable explanation for this disorderly gathering."
And with these words, he dismissed the assembly.