August 30, 2022 - Acts 19-25
In Ephesus, Paul taught and reasoned in the synagogue for three months, but when some became hardened and opposed him, he withdrew from them and met separately with the disciples. At times, Jesus also would turn away from those who wouild not listen. But always there were those who WOULD listen! And so, in Ephesus, Paul spent two years, “so that all the inhabitants of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the message about the Lord” (19:10). The gospel on the march!
The seven sons of Sceva. They thought they had come upon a magical verbal formula, a powerful fetish of sorts, that is, the name of Jesus. They would pronounce the name over those who had evil spirits, apparently thinking that the mere articulation of the sounds would be effective. Nope. They did not know Jesus, and so, they had no business employing his name. Things did not work out well for them. Also, people all over the place began to confess their sinful magical practices, and “the Lord's message flourished and prevailed” (19:20). The gospel on the march!
Wow, things got stirred up when Paul arrived in Jerusalem! Really stirred up! But the Lord himself came to Paul and said to him, “Have courage! For as you have testified about Me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome” (23:11). The gospel on the march!
Paul to Festus: “I appeal to Caesar!” (25:11) Festus to Paul: “You have appealed to Caesar; to Caesar you will go!” (25:12) The gospel on to Rome!
Christ is alive!
No longer bound to distant years in Palestine,
But saving, healing, here and now
And touching every place and time.
Christ is alive,
And comes to bring good news to this and every age
Till earth and sky and ocean
Ring with joy, with justice, love, and praise. -- Brian A. Wren (1968)