Day 71: Powers, the Proconsul, and Paul

Acts 13:4-12 :

So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia. From there they sailed to Cyprus. When they were at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. They had also John as their attendant. When they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Bar Jesus, who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of understanding. This man summoned Barnabas and Saul, and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn aside the proconsul from the faith. But Saul, who is also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fastened his eyes on him, and said, “Full of all deceit and all cunning, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? Now, behold, the hand of the Lord is on you, and you will be blind, not seeing the sun for a season!”

Immediately a mist and darkness fell on him. He went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord.

It’s obvious that the Bible isn’t afraid to say that supernatural things happen. In fact, the Bible exposes supernatural things that are not evident to the eye. In this passage, the Bible tells us that there was a Jewish man that was being influenced by evil spirits. He was also a person who tried to influence leaders for evil with these powers. The Bible tells us that these kinds of influences are very real and should be opposed.

It is interesting that this proconsul was about to be deceived by the sorcerer. He was probably not aware of the evil spirit behind the words. We need to recognize that the Bible says that evil spirits are very real and that they do influence ideas that we hear about. We need to set our minds on things in the Bible and oppose the ideas of this world.

Saul dealt with the problem head on and didn’t speak nicely to the man at all. We should not think that Christians must always use kind words. Obviously, by the Holy Spirit, Saul used harsh words saying that the man was “full of deceit and all cunning,” a “son of the devil” and an “enemy of all righteousness.” The Holy Spirit often uses unkind words and we should not be shocked by words like these from Holy Spirit led Christians!

The man was stricken blind (as Saul well understood) and the proconsul believed.

Notice that here, we find that Saul was also called Paul. Paul not only changed on the inside, but he took on a new name. When we come to know Christ, we completely change and everything becomes new for us. A name change is a small thing compared to the great change that takes place inside of us when we become Christians.