Thinking Things Through

33 The Jews in the crowd pushed Alexander to the front, and they shouted instructions to him. He motioned for silence in order to make a defense before the people. 34 But when they realized he was a Jew, they all shouted in unison for about two hours: “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!”

35 The city clerk quieted the crowd and said: “Fellow Ephesians, doesn’t all the world know that the city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of her image, which fell from heaven? 36 Therefore, since these facts are undeniable, you ought to calm down and not do anything rash. 37 You have brought these men here, though they have neither robbed temples nor blasphemed our goddess. 38 If, then, Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen have a grievance against anybody, the courts are open and there are proconsuls. They can press charges. 39 If there is anything further you want to bring up, it must be settled in a legal assembly. 40 As it is, we are in danger of being charged with rioting because of what happened today. In that case we would not be able to account for this commotion, since there is no reason for it.” 41 After he had said this, he dismissed the assembly. Acts 19:33-41

The city clerk had the foresight to envision this event at its logical conclusion. It wasn’t pretty. People would get hurt and be arrested. We don’t know if he agreed with Paul and his fellow Believers, but he realized that if the riotous crowd continued down its current path, the situation would not end well at all.

This man obviously thought things through, and did what was necessary to keep the peace. It took guts to face down the mob and confront them. He did have authority in the town, but as we discussed two posts ago, mobs do not follow rules. I doubt the clerk ever got a lot of recognition over this, even though he prevented a riot.

When a lawmaker or local official does something noteworthy, be sure to send that person a letter. They probably do not receive a lot of praise from their constituents.

But on occasion they do well and should be recognized for it.

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