A failed exorcism that ends in naked and bruised men running into the street. Wow! This scene could very well be straight out of a horror film.
God had been working incredible miracles through Paul, to the extent that even “handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirit’s came out of them” (Acts 19:12). Paul was a true faith healer ― the real deal! Not a con-artist peddling religion to line his pockets, as was common back then and still is today.
Impressed by these healings, some itinerant Jewish preachers sought to remarket Paul’s methods. If they could only perform such miracles, it would validate their teachings and ensure a strong following. So they “undertook to invoke the name of Jesus” to master evil spirits, but they themselves were mastered (Acts 19:13).
Jesus was not central to their belief system or known personally. He was a means to an end — an add-on to what they deemed already to be a perfectly sound worldview.
Jesus is still used today. He is added when convenient to people’s worldviews, self-help philosophies, or political ideologies. These belief systems may seem promising, but they don’t deliver true freedom.
“But I’m a Christian,” you might say. “Jesus is the foundation of what I believe.”
And that is a wonderful thing, indeed! But in our efforts to solve our problems and make our lives better, how often do we gravitate toward what the world has to say and simply consider or “add in” Jesus’ thoughts on the matter later?
Jesus shall not be invoked or used. He asks to be known and to be the center of all we think, say, and do. Therein lies the power to deliver us from oppression and bring healing to our lives.
Dear Lord Jesus, I confess my tendency not to seek you first for a solution to my problems. I want to experience your healing power through knowing you more and more. Help me keep you as the center of my life. Amen.
Go deeper — Find out why we should ask Jesus to disturb our lives.
Photo Credit: Nick Tong