READING: Acts 11-13
It’s what the enemy always seeks to do. He tempts, challenges, disrupts, distracts, and accuses, but one of his primary intentions is to keep people from hearing and believing the Word of God. Lost people are in his kingdom prior to their conversion (Col 1:13), and Satan seeks to keep them there. He has no desire to lose anyone from his influence.
That picture is evident in the story of the sorcerer and false prophet Bar-Jesus in Acts 13. Sergius Paulus, who was a political official known as a proconsul, wanted to hear the Word of God, and he sent for Barnabas and Saul to hear more. Bar-Jesus was one of Paulus’ attendants, and he did not like the idea that the proconsul sought the Word. For that reason, he “opposed them [Barnabas and Saul] and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith” (Acts 13:8). Saul, also known as Paul, finally called him a “child of the devil . . . full of all kinds of deceit and trickery” who was “perverting the right ways of the Lord” (Acts 13:10) — and God then struck Bar-Jesus with blindness.
The result? The proconsul saw what happened and believed.
This story is a fascinating one. Sergius Paulus saw the power of God in the judgment on Bar-Jesus, but the text also tells us that he believed “for he was amazed at the teaching of the Lord” (Acts 13:12). The power display he saw was significant, but it was the truth of the message he heard that led to his belief. Miracles may open the door to hearing the Word, but it is the gospel that brings salvation.
The work of Bar-Jesus, used by the enemy to try to keep the proconsul from believing, was entirely fruitless . . . and that’s good news for us. The enemy cannot trump the grace of God.
- If you are a believer, thank God that His grace was stronger than the enemy’s strategies to keep you in darkness.
- Pray for a non-believer who is still held in the enemy’s kingdom.
PRAYER: “God, thank You for the gospel that sets me free.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Acts 14-15