Friday, December 7, 2007

Acts, Chapter 19

Momentum is defined as the product of the mass and velocity of an object. The heavier an object is the more momentum it will have. This comes into play with a collision, as the more mass and velocity you have the more dynamic of a collision you get at the end. As we have seen over the entire book of Acts in these past few weeks the early church gained quite a bit of momentum behind Paul and the rest of the apostles. Jesus got the ball rolling by granting them the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Paul continued the momentum through his ministry, and in chapter 19 we see it begin to take off beyond even his and the apostles' efforts.

13Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, "In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out." 14Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15(One day) the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" 16Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. – Acts 19:13-16

This is one of our first instances where Paul was not directly involved with spreading the gospel. As we see in the preceding verses, God began to supernaturally propel this momentum by blessing even garments Paul had touched. What we see in these verses is an important step for these believing Jews, as they had made the leap of faith from discounting Christ and His ministry to believing they could do these things in His name. As we can see, they didn't exactly achieve their desired result, but the important thing is that they believed and had faith. The basis of Christ's message is one of faith, and that is something that is often hard for us to grasp in human terms. We must be willing to take that step and believe before the real work of Christ and the Holy Spirit can begin.

23About that time there arose a great disturbance about the Way. 24A silversmith named Demetrius, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought in no little business for the craftsmen. 25He called them together, along with the workmen in related trades, and said: "Men, you know we receive a good income from this business. 26And you see and hear how this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here in Ephesus and in practically the whole province of Asia. He says that man-made gods are no gods at all. 27There is danger not only that our trade will lose its good name, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be discredited, and the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and the world, will be robbed of her divine majesty." – Acts 19:23-27

Saying Christ came to earth to shake up the status quo is a bit of an understatement. His coming changed the very foundation of the world, and here is just another example of His guidance shaking up even secular society. Obviously the silver shrines were a big part of the economy of Ephesus, so naturally if people start turning away from Artemis as a god that industry would be hurt. There are few, if any, followers of Artemis today, but back then it would have been a big deal to take this away from the people of Ephesus. This is even further proof of the momentum of Christ. His message began to break down even the economy of that society, forcing the residents to at least consider the claims of Paul and the message of Christ. These people had no choice but to at least pay attention and consider the message. From there, it was up to each individual person to make up their own mind. Ultimately that is what each person must do when they are confronted with the truth about Christ - they must make up his or her own mind.


  1. Why would Paul be able to drive out evil spirits, but not these men?
  2. How has the Holy Spirit gained momentum in your walk with Christ?
  3. How does Christ change the world in dramatic ways like He did in Ephesus.

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