Day 3 Read: Acts 19:8-20
And he entered the synagogue and for three months spoke boldly, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. 9 But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus. 10 This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.
11 And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. 13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.”14 Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this.15 But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” 16 And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. 18 Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices.19 And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver.20 So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.
Reflect: According to verses 8-10, how long did Paul stay in the region of Ephesus? What occurred causing Paul to change his venue?
Consider: The group that made it were seven in number and are described as the sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva (v. 14). The reference to Sceva’s high priesthood creates a problem. Josephus lists all the names of the Jewish high priests up to the fall of the temple, and none is named Sceva. Evidently the scribes of the Western text were the first to note this, for they altered the text to simply read “priest,” not “high priest.” More recent scholars have taken other routes to solve the problem, such as arguing that Sceva was not a Jewish but a pagan high priest.3
Respond: How do you respond to rejection? How do you respond when your message isn’t well-received? What changes to your witnessing strategy need to change in order to withstand future difficulties and rejection?
3 John B. Polhill, Acts, vol. 26, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 403–404.