Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them. Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, "We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches." Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so.
And the evil spirit answered and said, "Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?"Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many who had believed came confessing and telling their deeds. Also, many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted up the value of them, and it totaled fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.
When these things were accomplished, Paul purposed in the Spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, "After I have been there, I must also see Rome." So he sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, but he himself stayed in Asia for a time as they had fully prepared the way for the collection.
Paul’s 3rd Missionary Journey Continued….”Unusual Miracles…and An “Enraged Demonaic” “Beat down” (Part Two)
Entering into Ephesus, Paul encountered 12 men who were disciples of John the Baptist who knew of only the baptism of repentance John taught in preparation for the then “coming Messiah”. Paul both explained the baptism of repentance and the promise of the baptism of the Holy Spirit that the Messiah would give. John told them that the Messiah (Jesus Christ) has already come and they could, upon believing in Jesus would not only be saved, but they would receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost. the Holy Spirit. These 12 men immediately accepted Christ and immediately upon them and they began to speak in other tongues (languages) and prophesy when Paul laid his hands on them. Afterwards, Paul faced more fiery opposition from Jews who worshipped at the synagogue. Paul as was his custom went into the synagogue to share the good news with the Jews speaking boldly before them for about 3 months .
At a certain point certain groups worshipping there became hardhearted against what Paul taught and spoke evil against the doctrine of salvation in Jesus Christ. Becoming frustrated with the Jews, Paul made a bold move and separated the church members from the members of the Jewish synagogue in Ephesus. The disciples that followed Paul and embraced the gospel message left with him and they started meeting at the School of Tyrannus, where Paul expounded on the gospel daily for 2 years at the school. It also allowed both Jews and Gentiles in that part of Asia Minor (Ephesus) to come where Paul was and hear what Paul taught concerning the Scriptures and the gospel in particular.
Miracles Done In Ephesus “Glorifying Jesus for the Gospel’s Sake”
(verses 11- 12)
Sometimes God moves in extraordinary ways to restore a person back to health from sickness. God is not limited in how HE can get you a breakthrough. What made the handkerchiefs and aprons special was not the fact that they came from Paul’s touch or usage. What made them special was the fact that God chose to use these items to work a miraculous healing. Paul wasn’t selling blessed handkerchiefs or aprons.
God moves in an “unusual way”: The Lord worked “extraordinary miracles” using aprons and handkerchiefs that Paul used or touched. to heal the sick of diseases and remove evil spirits. We call them “Point of contact miracles” (vs. 11)
Neither of these aprons and handkerchief of themselves were not special or "anointed." The handkerchiefs normally would be used to wipe the sweat from Paul’s face. The aprons normally would be used to wear around his waist. These items, borrowed from the apostle, and applied to the bodies of the diseased, became the method or means, in the hand of God, to restore the health of those sick when applied to their bodies. The sick people who benefitted from those special healings from the lord through the obedience of Paul
Notice what God does when these items make contact with the sick
a. The diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. Here, in this instance there is a clear and most evident distinction made between healing of sickness and diseases and the healing removal of evil spirits: It 's important to know the distinction between the two because they are not one and the same. Often there are health situations a person can find themselves in that had nothing to do with demons. Some health challenges occur when we don't eat healthy diets, others because of unhealthy environments and then there are those that are the results of demons attacking the body. Then, there are those sicknesses that are cause by practicing unhealthy hygiene habits. We must never forget that the original cause of sickness and diseases is SIN.
Question: Why did God choose to work miracles this was for them
b.. The working of miracles greatly contributed to the spread of the gospel in that region. Many of the people needed salvation, healing and deliverance and God wanted to show that they could have all three in Jesus Christ.
In this instance, the fact that the miracles were performed in this manner by garments which had touched Paul’s body, served as a sign, or as clear evidence to the sick that were healed and the evil spirits removed from their bodies that not only was Paul a man sent by God but was endowed with the gift of healing through the Holy Ghost. Remember, there was a great effort on the part of Satan through the Judaizers (those Jews who fought viciously against the gospel message) to discredit the integrity of Paul as an Apostle)
c. It was evident that this power of working miracles would contribute greatly to Paul's success among the people.
Something important to remember concerning evil spirits:
Even though evil spirit can cause unusual sickness and diseases to attack and afflict a person, every sickness and disease a person may encounter IS NOT because of demon possession.
Here’s a Biblical list of what demons (evil spirits) can do to afflict a person’s body especially if that person is not living in righteousness of Jesus Christ and the Word of God.
- They can cause Dumbness (Matthew 9:32-33)
- They can cause Blindness (Matthew 12:22)
- They can cause Insanity (Luke 8:26- 35)
- They can cause a person to suffer Suicidal Mania (Mark 9:22)
- They can cause Personal injuries (Mark 9:18)
- They can impart supernatural strength causing a person to become fierce, vicious and totally out of control (Luke 8:29)
- They can inflict physical defects and cause physical deformity.
A “Beat Down: Imitating Exorcists Exposed and Wounded and “Jesus Name Magnified” (verses 13-18)
Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, "We adjure (exorcise) you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches." Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. (vs. 13-14)
a. In these verses, there were 7 sons who claimed to be exorcists who went about pretending to be able to expel evil spirits, or to cure diseases by using charms, incantations," etc. The word exorcist is derived from the word horkizoo, which means "to bind with an oath." Any one claiming to be an exorcist pretended to be able to expel demons would use this method in order to ultimately compel the demon(s) to leave that person or people.
b. These 7 men were considered “vagabonds” in the sense that just like all their countrymen, in the region, they roamed from place to place, town to town attempting to make money anyway they could. They would try and do anything, even pretending to be exorcists with the hope of making large amounts of money.
c. When these men found out that Paul was casting out demons through the name of Jesus, they got this grand scheme that by using the same of Jesus, they might be able to cast out demons too, and if they could pull it off….this would be the means of producing a substantial economic windfall, since being sons of the chief priest residing in Ephesus (Screva) They knew Ephesus was full of demons, everywhere.
Screva was a Jewish chief priest; a priest of distinction, and had held the office of a ruler. The word "chief priest," in the New Testament, usually refers to men of the sacerdotal order who were also rulers in the Sanhedrin Council. Screva was a chief priest in Ephesus and possibly in the synagogue Paul has ministered in.
Observe what happens here: They attempt to cast out a demon in a man in his own house........
Screva’a sons: “We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preached…Come out of this man!”
Evil spirit’s 1st response: Jesus I know and Paul I know, but who are you? (vs. 15)
I know Jesus’authority and power can cast us out and I know Paul has the power and authority to cast us out. I’m acquainted with them both…..but who are you? By what right and authority do you have to do this. What power do you have? You have no allegiance to Jesus and you have no allegiance to Paul. You don’t have no power or authority……
Evil spirit’s 2nd response: violence
The enraged man then jumped on all 7 sons overcame them (scuffed them up) and prevailed against them (ripped off their clothes) to the point they ran out the house wounded and naked. (vs. 16)
This one man was far stronger than these 7 “perpetrating” men beat them up, inflicted some serious hurt and stripped them of their upper garments. He became fierce and violent in a fit of rage, exhibiting super natural strength.
Jesus name Magnified. (verses 17-22)
This incident became known to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
The name of Jesus was magnified because….by exposing the fake exorcist, it further served to validate the work Paul was doing Ephesus. Those who had demons cast out of them by Paul through the Holy Ghost proved that Paul's ministry was genuine. The word of what actually happened to these foolish 7 men became public knowledge causing fear to fall both on Greeks and Jews…and for many to immediately make major changes in their lives and in what they practiced as a way of life.
Life Lesson to be learned:
a. The name of Jesus is powerful. The miracles performed in the name of the Lord Jesus by Paul were real, and were performed in order to attest to the truth of the doctrine which he taught.
b. Impostors cannot work such miracles; and they who pretended to be able to do it only exposed themselves to the rage of evil spirits.
c. The events in this passage proves that there was a real, vital difference between Paul and these impostors. Their failure served glorify Jesus’ name more fervently and extend Paul’s reputation and the power of the gospel.
What you need to know concerning the casting out of demons:
Exorcisms or casting out of evil spirits happened very frequent in this early church era.
The anointed person, usually the priest and sometimes dedicated servants of Jesus would use strong and decisive words concerning the removal of the evil spirits in the power of Jesus’ name; and how those demons were tormented and expelled by it, not only from individuals, but from the temples themselves. Exorcists formed a distinct class in the church; hence, we read of presbyters, deacons, exorcists, lectors, and door-keepers. The casting out of evil spirits were commonly used over the new converts, before they were admitted to baptism.
And many that believed came, and confessed, and showed their deeds.(vs 18)
Many of the people who now believed publicly confessed (renounced) their evil deeds and their evil course of life. They confessed their many transgressions and vowed to forsake them from that time on.
Most of them practiced some form of divination or sorcery. Proverbs 28:13 said:
“He that covers his sins shall not prosper; but whosoever confesses and forsake them shall find mercy.”
Here’s two bonafide truths:
a. Anyone who make a profession of real life changing religion (Christianity) will also be willing to confess their transgressions and change from their wicked ways. Paul said:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1- 2)
b. No man has clear evidence or shows real evidence that he is truly renewed if they are not willing to confess as well as to forsake his sins.
There has to be a transformation by a renewed mind. That’s the only way you can prove that good, that acceptable…perfect will of God.
Look at the Life Changing power of the Word of God (Gospel) combined with the name of Jesus and the work of Holy Spirit doing HIS work in the WORD.
The news of what happened to the seven Jews led to the conversion of many other magicians. They didn’t stop at just getting saved; they also began to confess and divulge the inner workings of the evil arts they practiced. There is power in the name of Jesus!
This meant that not only did they stop practicing (forsake) their witchcraft practices (magic), they also made it public what they had been doing and how what they had been doing was done in graphic detail.
a. By revealing how these false evil misleading arts were done, it took fear out of the people who were subject to demonic influences of these evil diviners. There is a common belief that magical secrets lose their potency whenever they were made public. Remember Jesus said you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.
b. They immediately became witnesses by their powerful testimonies, the effect the Gospel and the name of Jesus Christ and the powerful conviction the Holy Spirit now had on them. They immediately started discouraging anyone else from taking up the practice of witchcraft arts and encouraging those who wanted to keep up this evil work to consider their ways and stop. Other magicians brought their scrolls inscribed with magic spells and charms and burned them publicly. A number of such magical papyri have been discovered. The volumes burned at Ephesus were worth at least ten thousand dollars.
c. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. (vs. 19)
Many people who practiced “Curious arts” that is, arts or practices that required skill, address, cunning. ("magic, jugglery, and sleight of hand" witchcraft sorcery etc
- Brought their books: Books which explained the arts, or which contained the magical forms and incantations-perhaps pieces of parchment, on which were written the letters which were to be used in the incantations and charms. and burned them before all men publicly. Their arts and offences had been public, and they sought now to undo the evil, as much as lay in their power, as extensively as they had done it.
- And they counted that is estimated how money had been spent on buying these books, charms, etc... Probably it was not done by those who had been engaged in this business, and who had suffered the loss, but by the people, who were amazed at the sacrifice, and who were astonished at their folly in thus destroying their own property.
d. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed. (vs. 20)The Word of God grew powerfully. It had such effect and power in this wicked city. That the people gave up their witchcraft practices and destroyed the books and items they used to practice it and to make money.
Application of the study to us:
(1) The Word of God (Gospel in particular) has power to break the strongholds (bondages) of sinners and on their unjust and dishonest means of living.
(2) The Word of God will cause those who have been engaged in an unchristian and dishonorable practice will abandon it when they become Christians, never to practice them again.
(3) Embracing the Word of God will bring about a hatred for the sin you used to commit and cause you to make amends in the manner you did that which was sinful. What they practiced, was done in public, so they felt it only right to public denounce what they used to do and publicly destroy those tools that help them when they were living in their sins.
(4) The Word of God has so much power (omnipotent power) that the evil you used to practice as a lifestyle will be abandoned at any cost, however great the cost. We were bought with a great price by Jesus. The question will be, what is right; not what will it cost. Property, in the view of a converted man, is nothing when compared with a good conscience.
After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome. (vs. 21)
Now that the gospel was firmly established at Ephesus, and Paul believed his presence there was no longer necessary. Paul “purposed in the spirit” that is resolved in his mind that after he revisits Macedonia and Achaia where he founded churches that were now flourishing. It was in all likelihood (probable) that his main object in this visit was to take up a collection for the poor saints at Jerusalem. Then he would go back to Jerusalem to bring the collection from the Gentile churches to help the oppressed Christians in Judea. Paul knew at some point that eventually he would go to Rome.
So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timothy and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season.
So, Paul sent Timothy. He was a proper person to send there to visit the churches, as he had been there before with Paul, when they were established, (Acts 16:3; 17:14)
Erastus was chamberlain of Corinth (Romans 16:23), or, more properly, the treasurer of the city and he was, therefore, a very proper person to be sent with Timothy for the purpose of making the collection for the poor at Jerusalem. Paul had wisdom enough to employ a man accustomed to money transactions in making a collection. On this collection his heart was intent, and he afterward went up with it to Jerusalem. See 2 Corinthians 8:9,
Paul elected to stay in Ephesus for a season. How long is uncertain. He waited for a convenient opportunity to follow them, probably intending to do it as soon as they had fully prepared the way for the collection.
To Be Continued..........
Dr. William Edward Boddie