25 June. Acts 19:11-20

25 June. Paul heals the sick and casts out evil spirits in Ephesus.

"God used Paul to do some very special miracles [in Ephesus]. Some people took handkerchiefs and clothes that Paul had used and put them on the sick. When they did this, the sick were healed and evil spirits left them."

"But some Jews also were travelling around and making evil spirits go out of people. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus to force evil spirits out. They would say, 'By the same Jesus that Paul talks about, I order you to come out.'"

"Seven sons of Sceva, a leading Jewish priest, were doing this. But on one occasion an evil spirit said to them, 'I know Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?' Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them. Because he was so much stronger than all of them, they ran away from the house naked and hurt."

"All the people in Ephesus - Jews and Greeks - learned about this and were filled with fear, and gave great honour to the Lord Jesus. Many of the believers began to confess openly and tell all the evil things they had done."

"Some of them who had used magic brought their magic books and burned them before everyone. Those [hand-written] books were worth about 50,000 silver coins. So in a powerful way the word of the Lord kept spreading and growing."

          (Acts 19:11-20)

 

 

God performed extraordinary miracles in Ephesus through Paul, who cast out demons and cured the sick. People's expectation of Jesus's healing power in their lives was so strong that even handkerchiefs and clothes worn by Paul were used to boost their faith and to provide a prayer 'hotline' to Jesus.

If this practice sounds odd to us, just think about the way people today seek after a celebrity's signature, or wear a football kit which is identical to the one worn by their hero. Just to touch something connected with their idol can boost their confidence hugely! Or remember how clothes donated by a celebrity fetch thousands of pounds in a charity auction. Holding something 'real' which is associated with a person can help to boost your faith in that person - whether it's a cross, rosary beads or a football shirt!

As in our day, undesirable elements of society sought to make money out of Paul's 'celebrity healer' status, and tried to copy what he did - by using the name of Jesus to cast out evil spirits. But spirits are not as easily deceived as humans, and the sons of Sceva were not expecting the violent beating they received as a result of their fraudulent actions!

In the event, their brutal treatment at the hands of a man with an evil spirit exposed the foolishness of their reliance on 'magic' tricks, spells and potions, and many pagan sorcerers become believers in Jesus and burnt their expensive magic textbooks.

Meanwhile, during the spring of 56AD, Paul sent his First Letter to the Corinthian church from Ephesus, and planned to visit Corinth in the autumn of that year (see 1 Corinthians 16:5-9).

In his letter to the new Corinthian believers, Paul related the Christian faith to everyday life in Corinth – a cosmopolitan Greek city. He addressed questions about immorality, sex and marriage, and about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, topics he was to take up again in a later letter.

The photo shows the interior of Roman house in Ephesus.

You can read more about Ephesus @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/the-ephesians-are-fille-…/


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