Demetrius the Silversmith
“Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another” Acts 19:38
Demetrius of Ephesus, the leader of the Silversmiths Guild was influential and wealthy.
The guild of Silversmiths was employed in creating miniature shrines or ‘naoi’; models of the temple, and the goddess, Diana.
These were sold at enormous profit to the thousands of pilgrims who visited the site.
This temple was listed as one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the World.
‘The artisans, whose trade depended on the sale of clay, wood and silver artifacts resembling the goddess and the shrine of Diana, were experiencing a recession.
Demetrius called a meeting of all the tradesmen.
He made a presentation of the facts as he saw them: (Acts 19:25-28)
- Our trade has enriched us.
- Paul has persuaded people all around Asia to turn from our god.
- Our livelihood is endangered.
- The temple is in danger of being made of no account.
- The goddess Diana could be deposed from her magnificent worship.
The violent riot that Demetrius incited, threatened the lives of Paul and his followers, Gaius and Aristarchus, and put the city officials in danger of an Inquiry from Rome! The city clerk advised they take the matter up in court if they had an accusation against Paul or the Christians.
It was into this society that Paul the apostle had come in A.D. 51.
The Christian church flourished in Ephesus and its surroundings during the next three years.
Many of the new believers were still in possession of the books of witchcraft that was part of their old life, reputedly worth around $10,000 U.S. Dollars (JFB Commentary). These they burned in a huge bonfire as testimony of their new found faith in Jesus. The rapid spread of Christianity made a noticeable impact on Ephesus, and its environs, both spiritually and materially.
It was this riot that caused Paul to leave Ephesus; and move on to Macedonia and Greece.
Paul appointed Timothy to pastor the Church. Later Paul sent Tychicus to replace Timothy (1 Tim1:3, 2 Tim 4:12).
The ministry to the people of Ephesus continued, and finally John, the apostle and son of Zebedee, came to pastor the church, and oversee the work in Asia and Greece.
Sometime between 54 and 62 A.D. a conversion took place there that must have made the inhabitants of Ephesus sit up and take notice.
Newspaper headlines could have read:
“Silversmith Guild President Converts to Christianity!”
Demetrius, the wealthy and influential leader of the riot, had become a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was discipled in the faith and proved himself to be a real Christian.
John the aged apostle was the Pastor of the church in Ephesus, when he wrote to Paul’s former traveling companion, Gaius, saying:
“Demetrius has received a good report from everyone, and is doctrinally sound. I can testify to this personally, and you know I tell the truth!” (Authors transliteration! ref: 3 John vs.12)
When Demetrius found Christ, his conduct proved it. Faith without works is dead!