Reading for Wednesday, May 2: Acts 19
Paul encounters some disciples in Ephesus, believers who have received John’s baptism but who lack the Holy Spirit. These “irregular” disciples are incorporated into the body — baptized in the name of Jesus and given the gift of the Spirit. Lack of understanding is not an impediment to the Kingdom in Paul’s ministry. Proper understanding comes as a result of fellowship, rather than acting as a test of it. There’s an important lesson for us here.
Paul’s interaction with the sons of Sceva underscores the transformative power of this Kingdom message. “Many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all.” (v18-19). The Gospel call transforms this community, undermines the cultural norms of magic arts, and authors new life in what was previously a dark, pagan place.
The riot in Ephesus also illustrates this in depth of detail. Luke is telling us that the Gospel has implications for every facet of one’s life: social, economic, relational, etc. No dimension of our lives is off limits to the ramifications of the Good News of Jesus.