Posts Tagged ‘demon’

Verse 15: “And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus, I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?””

In the movie Doctor Strange, we find this dialogue when Strange is learning the mystic arts (Wong and Baron Mordo are already accomplished masters helping in his training):

[Strange is experimenting with time manipulation using the Eye of Agamotto]
Karl Mordo: [bursting in] No! Tampering with continuum probability is forbidden!
Dr. Strange: I was just doing exactly what it said in the book!
Wong: And what did the book say about the dangers of performing that ritual?
Dr. Strange: I… don’t know, I hadn’t gotten to that part yet.
Mordo: Temporal manipulations can create branches in time. Unstable dimensional openings, spatial paradoxes, time loops! You want to get stuck experiencing the same moment over and over again forever, or never having existed at all?!
Dr. Strange: …They really should put the warnings before this stuff.

The preceding quotes can be found at https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Doctor_Strange_(film)

It never fails: trying to tamper with forces beyond man’s ability most always leads to disastrous results (or in Dr. Strange’s case, almost does!) Here, Strange was experimenting with magic spells that he didn’t fully grasp the consequences of. In today’s Scripture passage, verse 11 states that “Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul,”. Even items of clothing that had touched Paul’s body were being used to heal the sick. The current Jewish exorcists and other magicians of the day figured, “hey, let’s try to cash in on this Jesus in our work!” Would that they had had Han Solo there to quote his famous line: “I got a bad feeling about this!”

So when these exorcists tried to simply use Jesus name to remove an evil spirit, the spirit responds with verse 15. The demon knew Jesus, and knew of Paul, but he lets these would-be magicians find out that they didn’t know what they were doing. They were trying to literally use Jesus’s name like a magic word. It’s through faith in Jesus, that all-saving faith, that Paul could do these miracles. Jesus wasn’t a magic wand; He is the Messiah, the Savior, God the Son! These exorcists found out the hard way that you don’t call on Jesus’s name flippantly. This particular section ends appropriately with verse 20: “So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed”.

I wish that people today who call Jesus’s name flippantly would learn from this passage.

Something to think about.

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Verses 14-15: “Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple form the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us.”

A study in contrast here. According to the Holman New Testament Commentary on Acts, page 271, “the first convert in Europe was a Jewish worshiper of God, a Gentile who worshiped with the Jewish women by the river. Lydia was not only a Gentile and a proselyte, but also a businesswoman.” Lydia was a seller of purple. My footnotes in my Holman Bible state that royal purple cloth had important uses in the Roman Empire, and she was probably a prominent woman in the society there. She worshiped with the Jewish women there, and God opened her heart to the Gospel through the words Paul spoke. After she and her household were baptized, she invited the missionaries to stay at her house. Through all of what I’ve read and learned, I’m struck by Lydia’s quiet, sincere, and humble conversion. We know from later Scripture that she played a role in supporting Paul’s mission through the Philippian church.

Now, I said contrast to start this devotion. In the next few verses, we also see a “certain slave girl with a spirit of divination”. She, too, recognized Paul and his group as “servants of the Most High God.” However, it was not her saying this, but that demon possessing her (remember, even the demons knew who Jesus was, and they trembled). Paul cast out that spirit, not wanting the distraction probably. We’ll see the consequences of this in the next devotion.

Two women: one who was sincere and earnest in coming to know God, and one who was nothing more than a pawn of a demon possession and used by her masters to make them money. We live in a society today where “out loud and proud” seems to clamor for attention. But don’t let all the shouting and ruckus distract you from what you should hear…the gospel of Christ.

Have a blessed day in the Lord!

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