January 26, 2021 – Tuesday
Acts 19:17-20 NIV
17 When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor.
18 Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done.
19 A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.*
20 In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
*Silver coin worth about a day’s wages, in total a year’s wages for over 190 men.
Recall, that due to Paul’s success, God doing miracles through him, an interesting event occurred when (v13-16), Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.
It was the above event that precipitated the events in our verses for today. What made it have such an incredible impact was the fact it was the seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest who had been run out of a house naked and bleeding. The impact of the story was make even greater with their retelling what the evil spirit said to them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” This had to add a great deal of authenticity and legitimacy to the preaching of Paul. Thus, it should come as no surprise, that now as this became widely known, a great many were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. Then, Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done.
It is likely two fears led believers to come forward and confess. First and most importantly a feeling of awe at this contact with the Unseen in some, the special belief in Christ as the Judge of all men in others, roused conscience into intense activity; the sins of their past lives came back upon their memories, and it was a relief to throw off the burden by confessing them. (Ellicott’s Commentary) Secondly, many of those that believed now believed the power which God alone had over Satan, and were convinced of their sin and danger in being led captive by him. (Matthew Poole’s Commentary)
This is not altogether different than what occurred for many of us. We saw or knew of great changes in certain individuals for which no other explanation other than Jesus was known or given. As a result, we knew of the power of God when it comes to His working through the faith of believers. We may even know one or more of these individuals personally. To be aware of such is often sufficient to result in changes in our own lives concerning the relationship we have with our heavenly Father.
If this is true, that is probably why we are not so surprised to read, A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. After we have seen very self-centered people become humble and, in many ways, selfless. They are giving up scrolls and burning them, but they are changing the ways in which they lived, writing a new ending for their lives. Effectively, testimonies, our own and those of others, have the power to change lives just as their lives were changed.
Prayer: Heavenly Father – Through You I have changed. Please let what you have done in my live help others to know their lives can be changed as well. – In Jesus name. Amen.