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a voice crying out in the postmodern wilderness

Jesus Puts the gods Out of Business

Jesus Puts the gods Out of Business

These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship.”
— Acts 19:25-27

In the times of the early church, Paul made a gigantic ruckus. He turned an entire region of the world upside down, and in so doing made many enemies. But what was his message? Was he just an instigator? Was he a fire-breathing evangelist, pitting his religion against the other religions?

Sort of.

Paul offered something different. Something true. You had Greeks worshiping gods like Artemis and Jews denying the resurrection. Paul did not bring yet another god to appease, or perform for, or to hide from.

He brought Jesus, the God who died for us. And that is very different.

This message, which we call "the gospel" (the good news), is either irresistible or disgusting, depending on who you are. It is irresistible if you are self-aware to any degree and realize your own spiritual poverty - and if you see just a glimpse of the beauty of Christ. It is disgusting if you have crowned yourself as god, and thus the gospel will dethrone you. 

So while Paul was in Greece, he caused a riot. The gospel was putting silversmiths out of business. These guys made a living making little trinkets to either represent or serve Artemis and others. I can imagine these guys didn't exactly have fair pricing. And so here is Paul, setting people's hearts on fire with the gospel and business dries up. 

We have our own little trinkets and false gods we cling to, don't we? We have our own identity issues, whether we're wrapped up with being the best mom on Instagram or the dude with the slickest car. And regardless of what gods we try to replace God with, Jesus will dethrone them all. He will either do so now, as we bring them do his feet and repent of our idolatry, or he'll do it later when he returns. The former is a much, much better option for us.

Let's discard our trinkets that weigh us down and proceed unhindered to the God who died for us.

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