I’m watching TV and a news item focuses on a riot that has erupted in an overseas country. It seems to happen so often, and sometimes over seemingly small issues. The sad thing is that it can escalate, and people are often hurt or even killed in the process.
In today’s passage we read about a riot in the city of Ephesus. v23 “About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way.” ‘The Way’ was an early term used of Christians. Luke referred to the Way in Acts 9:2 and 19:9 as well. Keddie suggested “There is something quietly yet radically uncompromising about this name. It says that this Christian faith is a new way of salvation and a way of life.” Clearly in Paul’s time they were living out this new way of life in a way that caused disruption in the culture of the day.
The passage tells us that Paul had been teaching in the city, and that people were listening and responding to his message (v26). It was impacting the local skilled workers’ livelihoods, particularly through the reduction in the sales of silver shrines of Artemis. The workers were outraged, which then led to a riot.
When the good news is shared in a context, things should change. The Gospel should have an impact on the way we live, the things we buy, and the way we treat others around us. In our culture the temptation is to compartmentalise our lives, separating our work and our spiritual walk, yet the Gospel should impact all of our lives.
We shouldn’t seek to cause conflict or do things simply to bring a reaction out of others, but we should seek to faithfully live out the gospel, just like Paul did and the Christians of ‘The Way’. The Gospel should impact our purchasing decisions, the way we love others, and the way we engage in our marketplaces. Spend some time reflecting today how your faith in Christ impacts the way you engage in our world. Pray that God might give you wisdom about how to engage as his disciple in this world.