Monday, November 30, 2009

Naked Exorcists on the Run

This is a dramatic and even funny passage. God's power had always been evident in His followers. It even got to where something that had touched Paul would then cause healing in people!

11 -12 "God did powerful things through Paul, things quite out of the ordinary. The word got around and people started taking pieces of clothing—handkerchiefs and scarves and the like—that had touched Paul's skin and then touching the sick with them. The touch did it—they were healed and whole."
o
Pretty weird! (And wonderful)
That kind of power and the attention and fame it got was irresistible...

13 -16 "Some itinerant Jewish exorcists who happened to be in town at the time tried their hand at what they assumed to be Paul's "game." They pronounced the name of the Master Jesus over victims of evil spirits, saying, "I command you by the Jesus preached by Paul!"
o
So were they legit? I would say not.
They were willing to use the second hand power of invoking Paul's name, thinking that would give them the power too.
It didn't work out so well.
o
This is one of the funniest passages in the Bible to me...
o
"The seven sons of a certain Sceva, a Jewish high priest, were trying to do this on a man when the evil spirit talked back: "I know Jesus and I've heard of Paul, but who are you?" Then the possessed man went berserk—jumped the exorcists, beat them up, and tore off their clothes. Naked and bloody, they got away as best they could."
o
I am very visual. I can see them running for their lives - going in all directions. Not only a botched exorcism, but the ultimate embarrassment. They are powerless, naked and on the run in public view!
o
This little incident hit the tabloids right away! First page stuff!!

17 -20 "It was soon news all over Ephesus among both Jews and Greeks. The realization spread that God was in and behind this. Curiosity about Paul developed into reverence for the Master Jesus."
o
Notice that it didn't lead to "Paul worship." He didn't start wearing $2000 suits and put up his family in $12,000 a night hotel suites...
No. It lead to "Jesus worship."
o
"Many of those who thus believed came out of the closet and made a clean break with their secret sorceries. All kinds of witches and warlocks came out of the woodwork with their books of spells and incantations and made a huge bonfire of them."
"Someone estimated their worth at fifty thousand silver coins. In such ways it became evident that the Word of the Master was now sovereign and prevailed in Ephesus."
o

God did dramatic things.

But the players gave God all the glory.
o
And corralled none of it for themselves.

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