A Wave of Fear

Douglas VanBronkhorst

READ : Acts 19:23-41

The great theater in Ephesus has been wonderfully preserved. One can stand on its stage, look up at all the seats, and easily imagine the plays or concerts that took place in ancient times.

Now imagine the riot graphically described in this chapter. It must have been a very frightening experience for the Christians who were the focus of the crowd’s wrath. Most people in the crowd didn’t know what was going on, but they were frightened too. The silversmiths were afraid they would lose their livelihood. Others feared a loss of respect for Artemis, the goddess whose great temple was a center for devotion and tourism in Ephesus. If Artemis was threatened, so they thought, their city was too. This fear may have been heightened by anti-semitism.

The atmosphere of dread prevailed. Citizens and visitors were caught up in the panic and frenzy of the mob. Intense feelings fed on one another until all the people were chanting themselves sick. What a scene!

Fear is a powerful force. It is used by Satan to keep people in spiritual bondage. The riot in Ephesus was calmed by a decent government official. But the long-term antidote to fear is the perfect love of Jesus.


Lord, help me to conquer fear with love, and to be a witness for the truth that sets people free from all fear.