Friday, May 3, 2013

Acts 19:1-20 Paul in Ephesus

In today’s reading, Paul goes to Ephesus by a northern route. Paul meets believers in Ephesus but they have not received the Holy Spirit. They were given John’s baptism. Paul explains that John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. Paul says that John told the people to believe in the one that came after him. Paul than explains that John was pointing to Jesus. He then baptizes them in the name of Jesus and as soon as Paul lays his hands on them they receive the Holy Spirit. The new believers begin to speak in tongues and prophesy. The number of new believers were about twelve.

Paul then speaks boldly in the synagogue for three months. Once again some Jews refused to believe so they opposed the Way. Paul left them and took the disciples to the hall of Tyrannus. Luke tells us that this went on for about two years so that everyone, Jew and Greek, in Asia heard the word of the Lord. Luke makes a point of telling us that God did extraordinary miracles through Paul. The Spirit is so strong with Paul that even things he has touched heal people and drive out evil spirits.

As always there is a problem, this time it is a bit different though. Some Jews are going around driving out evil spirits. They try to invoke Jesus’ name but it back fires on them. They tell the evil spirit to come out in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches. The spirit says, “I know Jesus and I know about Paul, but who are you?”  They receive a terrible beating for their trouble. Because of this incident many people are seized in fear and the name of Jesus is held in high honor. There was a great number of confessions and even burning of scrolls used for sorcery. Luke tells us that the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.

As I read this passage, Luke’s use of fear, confession and the word of the Lord growing in power. This is the first time Luke talks about people being seized with fear and honoring the name of Jesus together. Thus far we have heard about the Good News of Christ and all the miracles performed through the Holy Spirit. Now the power is connected to fear and confession.

I wonder, is this a reminder that I am a sinner. A reminder that I cannot receive the full power of the glory of Christ unless I confess my sins. What are the scrolls that I must burn so that I can receive all the gifts God has for me?  

No comments:

Post a Comment