The Third Missionary Journey – Acts 19-20

Paul in Ephesus

In Ephesus, Paul found some disciples who hadn’t even heard of the Holy Spirit. These disciples had only taken John’s baptism. So Paul wasted no time and baptized them in the name of Lord Jesus. Immediately the Holy Spirit came on them and they started speaking in tounges and prophesied. 

Have we ever come across Christians who have not believed or have even heard of the Holy Spirit? Our faith is incomplete if we believe in only one aspect of the Triune God. Paul stayed in Ephesus for two years, proclaiming the word to all the Jews and Greeks. 

God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them. – Acts 19:11-12

Extraordinary works were being done by God through Paul, similar to the ones Jesus had performed. The Holy Spirit was working within Paul, and the once persecutor of the Way was now the torch-bearer for the early Church.

The Riot in Ephesus

The alliance of the silversmiths and craftsmen in Ephesus got together and plotted to derail the Jesus movement as it was costing them their business.  Demetrius, the chief silversmith addressed them saying –  

“You know, my friends, that we receive a good income from this business. And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that gods made by human hands are no gods at all. There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited; and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty.” – Acts 19:25-27

Demetrius sought to solve his financial problems by using the sentiments of the people who had gathered and blamed Paul not only for their diminishing returns but also for blasphemies against their god.  And as planned, the whole city was in an uproar. Half the people rioting did not even know the reason for the uproar.

Even today people try to misrepresent the true gospel if it helps them gain material or political power. Do we give in to such false interpretations of the word? Or do we look into the context of the verses to understand their true meaning?

Paul wanted to address the crowd, but fearing the worst, the other disciples did not allow for that to happen. Instead, it was a city clerk who calmed the crowd and asked for the disputes to be solved in courts. When the uproar had ended, Paul sent for the disciples and, after encouraging them, said goodbye and set out for Macedonia.

Not everyone will get on board the Jesus train, even if we have the purest intentions of spreading the Good news. We must adhere to Jesus’ instruction and ‘move on to the next town’ when that happens. (Luke 9:5

Eutychus Raised From the Dead at Troas

At Troas, Paul who was to leave the next morning spoke late into the night. A young man named Eutychus, who was sitting on a window dozed off during Paul’s sermon and fell to his death from the third floor. Immediately Paul went down and threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. He assured everyone that the young man was alive and went back upstairs to continue his sermon till daylight.

Since Paul knew he was on his last mission he spoke till late in the night as he would have a lot of warnings for the Church. The death of Eutychus would have halted the late night service, but Paul, filled with spirit, raised up the young man. If people were not listening to Paul’s message before, surely after this incident, they were wide awake and were listening intently. The next morning the congregation took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.

Paul’s Farewell to the Ephesian Elders

Through the Holy Spirit, Paul knew that this would be the last time he would be meeting the Church in Ephesus. He encouraged and reminded them of all the works that God had done amongst the Ephesians but also warned them that false teachers would come after him and distort the truth. They all knelt and prayed with him on the beach and Paul set sail for Jerusalem knowing well what was in store for him upon his arrival. 

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