“The Way” (19:23). What a great description of Christianity! Jesus is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), and we follow Him. But it also describes the fact that Christians have a different way to live than the rest of the world:
Psalm 25:12 “The LORD shows his faithful followers the way they should live.”
Paul already has it in his heart that he’s going to Rome (19:21). Even if it hasn’t been explicitly revealed by the Spirit, his desire shows that the Spirit is working in him. God has a plan!
We see again how the gospel changes attitudes and actions. Not only did Paul preach against idol worship, but people turned from idols to the true God, and it affected the business of idol makers. “Artemis” is also known to us as “Diana,” and the temple for her in Ephesus was considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. By invoking her the silversmiths are not only appealing to religious fervor, but also to civic pride. A huge uproar causes the city secretary to take center stage and calm the crowd down before the Roman soldiers took matters into their own hands. Calmer heads also prevailed with Paul, preventing him from trying to address the rioting crowd (19:30)!
It brings up an interesting discussion. Here Paul listens to the advice of others. Later on, some disciples warn him not to go to Jerusalem, but He goes (21:4)! Once again we have to credit his sensitivity to the Spirit. How can we cultivate that same sensitivity in our own lives? We study, pray, worship, and obey, earnestly seeking God’s face in the decisions that we make.