16 Oct Demetrius, the Crafty Silversmith
Troublemaker. Rubble-Rouser. Rascal.
And Cunning Businessman.
That’s what I would call Demetrius, a certain resident of Roman Ephesus, and a Silversmith by profession.
Demetrius’ home city of Ephesus is very prosperous at this time, well-known for its magnificent temple of Diana, goddess of the moon, childbirth and other glad tidings.
The Ephesians are very proud of this Diana, and the fact that their city is host to her magnificent temple. After all, who doesn’t know that her illustrious image fell straight from the heavens many years ago?
And in this city, given to passionate idol worship, Demetrius cuts an impressive fortune, selling goddess Diana to the residents.
And sell he does, cleverly offering silver shrines of the goddess to his fellow countrymen.
So successful is he, that by the time the Apostle Paul arrives in the city, Demetrius is rolling in Denarii, and so are his fellow craftsmen.
But the good Apostle begins to share the Gospel and as usual, signs and wonders follow this great Man of God.
And Demetrius and his friends begin to hear things.
That at the mere touch of Paul’s handkerchief, diseases are cured, and evil spirits depart in a frenzied rush.
And that many have turned from their idolatrous ways, destroyed costly occult books and committed to this new Faith.
Impossible! Unheard of!
This is Ephesus after all, the dwelling-place of queen Diana!
But it soon becomes clear that the message of the Gospel is advancing, and Diana is in serious danger of becoming irrelevant.
Not good for business.
Especially goddess-making business.
Crafty Demetrius calls a meeting at the local hall, all craftsmen most welcome.
What’s a businessman to do, after all? Desperate times call for desperate measures, you see.
“Men, you know that we have our prosperity by this trade. Moreover you see and hear that not only at Ephesus, but throughout almost all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are not gods which are made with hands,” he says.
He paints a vivid picture; Soon our trade will fall into disrepute, he says, and then where will we go? What will we do? How will we live? This must stop! This must come to an immediate end!
The craftsmen are convinced.
They seize Paul’s companions violently, rush into the theater and proceed to cause utter chaos for the next two hours.
Shouts of “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” can be heard all round.
Quite possibly, tables are overturned, seats are broken, windows smashed.
But their plot is soon foiled by one level-headed town-clerk, and the crowd is swiftly dispersed.
And it’s one more precious victory for the Gospel of Christ.
“For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Diana, brought no small profit to the craftsmen.” Acts 19:24
For the full account, feel free to head here: Acts 19: 21-41