[To the crowd that was incensed about the threat to the worship of Artemis and to their business, the mayor of Ephesus said,] "If Demetrius and the craftsmen have a case against [the Christians], the courts are in session and the officials can hear the case at once. Let them make formal charges. And if there are complaints about other matters, they can be settled in a legal assembly. I am afraid we are in danger of being charged with rioting by the Roman government, since there is no cause for all this commotion. And if Rome demands an explanation, we won't know what to say." Then he dismissed them, and they dispersed.
— Acts 19:38-41 NLT
Paul told the Galatians, "But when the right time* came, God sent his Son..." (Galatians 4:4). He told believers in Rome, "When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time* and died for us sinners" (Romans 5:6). God had conditioned and prepared history to be "the right time" for Jesus to come and for the Good News of Jesus to spread rapidly. Rome ruled the Mediterranean world. Rome provided an overland highway system and shipping lanes largely free of robbers and pirates. Rome established a system of law and government that aided Paul and Silas as Roman citizens and provided them legal protections and privileges. This God-conditioned time — "the right time" — helped the unstoppable message of Jesus to spread like wildfire. The dispersal of a riotous mob in Ephesus is just another example of how God works through historical circumstances to provide avenues of grace for those who are lost to find Jesus. Let's ask the Spirit to open our eyes to how God is providing the right circumstances in our day!
Father, I am adapting Paul's prayer for the Ephesians as a prayer for us in our day as we seek to know how you are conditioning our world and empowering us with the unstoppable message of Jesus:
I thank you God for my fellow-Christians. I ask you, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give us spiritual wisdom and insight so that we might grow in our knowledge of you. I pray that our hearts will be flooded with light so that we can understand the confident hope you have given to those you called — your holy people who are your rich and glorious inheritance. I also pray that we will understand the incredible greatness of your power for us who believe you, the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at your right hand in the heavenly realms.* Amen.