December 7 I Wednesday
“Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. A number who had practised sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly.” —Acts 19:18-19
Sometimes a work of God could be so formidable that lives are changed. This is what was happening in Ephesus as God did extraordinary miracles through Paul’s ministry to draw attention to the gospel. In fact, even handkerchiefs and aprons that touched Paul were brought to the sick and they were healed.
With such power behind the name of Jesus, some Jews tried to perform miracles themselves by invoking that name. A group of individuals by the name of the “Seven sons of Sceva” started to go around conducting exorcism. As they performed exorcism they would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out” (Acts 19:13). We are not told in Scripture whether they were believers or part of the church but it could be implied that they were not, because they were trying to invoke the name of Jesus that Paul was preaching onto the demonic force.
On one occasion, as they tried to perform an exorcism, a demon ridiculed them saying, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” (Acts 19:15). It is never a good sign when a demon talks back during an exorcism, but what happened after is even more alarming. We are told, “Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on [the Seven sons of Sceva] and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding” (Acts 19:16). Instead of expelling the demon from the man, they brought destruction upon themselves.
When something like this happens, people talk and the impact upon the city was great as we read, “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 honour. Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done.” The God of the Apostle Paul was transforming the spiritual landscape of this city. So great was the change that “A number who had practised sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly” (Acts 19:17-19). This powerful change happened after the events with the Seven sons of Sceva, where fear brought people to confess their secret sins, repent of their ways and burn the scrolls that were holding them back from fully following Jesus.
Is the Spirit provoking our conscience about a part of our life that needs to realign with the ways of Jesus? Is there a “scroll” we are holding on to that we need to let go and let Him burn up?
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, how powerful is Your name over demons! I ask that You help me lay down the “scroll” that I am holding on to and let me follow You wholeheartedly. Thank You, Lord.