I didn’t expect that

Acts 19:11-22

11 God gave Paul the power to perform unusual miracles. 12 When handkerchiefs or aprons that had merely touched his skin were placed on sick people, they were healed of their diseases, and evil spirits were expelled.

13 A group of Jews was traveling from town to town casting out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus in their incantation, saying, “I command you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, to come out!” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this. 15 But one time when they tried it, the evil spirit replied, “I know Jesus, and I know Paul, but who are you?” 16 Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, overpowered them, and attacked them with such violence that they fled from the house, naked and battered.

17 The story of what happened spread quickly all through Ephesus, to Jews and Greeks alike. A solemn fear descended on the city, and the name of the Lord Jesus was greatly honored. 18 Many who became believers confessed their sinful practices. 19 A number of them who had been practicing sorcery brought their incantation books and burned them at a public bonfire. The value of the books was several million dollars. 20 So the message about the Lord spread widely and had a powerful effect.

21 Afterward Paul felt compelled by the Spirit to go over to Macedonia and Achaia before going to Jerusalem. “And after that,” he said, “I must go on to Rome!” 22 He sent his two assistants, Timothy and Erastus, ahead to Macedonia while he stayed awhile longer in the province of Asia.

I would not have thought that a handkerchief would have any part to play in healing someone. But God uses it to do what even Luke says is a very unusual miracle. He can and does do the most remarkable things.

The sons of Sceva copy what they expected would work to cast out an evil spirit but it has quite the reverse effect. They are lucky to escape with their lives. Just doing what a Godly man does separately from God is doomed to failure. They should have expected that.

The testimony of a violent and evil spirit about Jesus and Paul has such an effect on Ephesus that Jesus is honoured and sorcerers repent. I would not have expected that.

Paul knew he must go to Rome, but I don’t think he was expecting the extraordinary way he got there.

“God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28). God is so much bigger than my imagination. He says, “I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?” (Isaiah 43:19) I really should expect to be surprised by him.

Father, open my mind to see and be part of what you’re doing, and give me the discernment to leave behind the things that you’re not part of.

Written by David Cornell

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *