January 25, 2021 – Monday
Acts 19:8-10 NIV
8 Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.
9 But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.
10 This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.
While Paul is still in Ephesus, he spoke boldly there for three months straight in the synagogue and while there he was arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. Something happened in the synagogue though, some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. It wasn’t so much that they didn’t believe, but they refused to believe and then went further and publicly maligned the Way.
Recall in chapter 18 Paul had left Athens and gone to Corinth where (v4), Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. After Silas and Timothy arrived, he (v5) devoted himself exclusively to preaching, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. However, there were those in the synagogue who (v6) opposed Paul and became abusive and as a result he shook out his clothes in protest and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent of it. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
What happened in Ephesus and Corinth via the opposition to Paul’s message was remarkably similar. Some bible versions say the opposition was that they blasphemed which must have been directed against Jesus, because Paul was preaching Jesus as the Messiah. In verse nine above we have different versions through which we can see why Paul left them:
NIV – and publicly maligned the Way
ESV – speaking evil of the Way before the congregation
KJV – but spake evil of that way before the multitude
Those who opposed Paul’s message of salvation maligned or spoke evil of it when they refused to believe it. As a result (v9-10), Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.
Because Paul was faithful in sharing the message (v11-12), God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.
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.
What to make of all of this? Two things perhaps. First of all, preach to even those opposed to the Good News until they blaspheme the gospel by maligning it or speaking evil of it. Secondly, when you stop preaching to those individuals, do not stop preaching to others who have ears to hear. If you are not a preacher or pastor, the message is the same – do not stop sharing the Good News!
Prayer: Heavenly Father – Help me to always be ready to share the good news of salvation through Your Son with those around me. – In Jesus name. Amen.