Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Acts 19:11-14

Summary retelling of Acts 19:11-14

Paul was empowered by God in Ephesus to do some pretty incredible miracles.  Even cloth that came in contact with Paul was able to cure people from illnesses.  Paul’s popularity was so great that some local Jewish leaders began to try and use the name of Jesus to drive out demons.  In particular, we hear of the seven sons of Sceva – a Jewish high priest – who undertook the name of Jesus when dealing with supernatural forces.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
Notice how clear the Bible is about where the power originates.  It is not Paul who cured the diseases.  It is not Paul who drove out the demons.  It is God who was doing all of this through Paul.  Paul made himself a conduit for God’s power.

Do you think it was hard for Paul to not get caught up in how much supernatural stuff was happening around him?  Do you ever struggle with letting God be the powerful one and you simply being the conduit?

Second Thought:
Remember that yesterday we spoke about how the Jews drove Paul out of the synagogue in Ephesus.  Now we hear that they want to imitate Paul.  Imitation is often considered the highest form of flattery.  However, being imitated by those who despise you might not be so flattering.  The Jews here aren’t interested in admitting Paul was right; they are simply interested in doing whatever they can to become popular.  That isn’t the kind of imitation for which Paul is looking.

Why do people imitate one another?  Which reasons are good?  Which reasons are bad?  Who are you most likely to imitate?

Third Thought:
To continue the prior thought, the Jews who were using Jesus’ name were not doing so because they believed in Jesus.  Rather, they were doing so because they were interested in the power.  In that sense, they were turning the name of Jesus into a talisman.  We don’t see real faith here, we see people interested in manipulating God to satisfy their own desires.

How do you use the name of Jesus and the power that God has given to you?  Do you even use it?

Passage for Tomorrow: Acts 19:15-20
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