Reading for Today:
2 Chronicles 25:1–27:9
2 Chronicles 25:7 man of God. This is a technical term used about 70 times in the Old Testament, always referring to one who spoke for God. He warned Amaziah not to make idolatrous Israel his ally because the Lord was not with Ephraim, i.e., Israel, the capital of idolatry.
2 Chronicles 25:8 God has power. The man of God reminded the king sarcastically that he would need to be strong, since God wouldn’t help.
2 Chronicles 25:14–16 Amaziah did the unthinkable from both a biblical and political perspective—he embraced the false gods of the people whom he had just defeated. Perhaps he did this because he was seduced by the wicked pleasures of idolatry and because he thought it would help him in assuring no future threat from Edom. However, it only brought destruction to the king, who just wanted to silence the voice of God.
Acts 19:13 itinerant Jewish exorcists. Simon Magus (8:9–25) and Bar-Jesus (13:6–12) were other possible examples of such charlatans (Matt. 12:27). In contrast to the absolute authority exercised by Jesus and the apostles over demons, those exorcists sought to expel the demons by attempting to call on a more potent spirit being—in this case the Lord Jesus.
Acts 19:15 Jesus…Paul I know. Recognizing that the exorcists had no authority over him (unlike Jesus and Paul), the demon rejected their attempt to expel him from his victim. This confirms that the power to cast out demons belonged to Jesus and the apostles and no one else. Even the demons give testimony to that.
Acts 19:19 books. Of secret magical spells. Burning them proved the genuineness of the magicians’ repentance. Having destroyed these books, they could not easily resume their practices. fifty thousand pieces of silver. Fifty thousand days’ wages for a common laborer—an astonishing sum of money given to indicate how widespread the practice of magic was in Ephesus.
DAY 15: How could the “disciples” of Acts 19:1 not have received the Holy Spirit?
Coming to Ephesus, Paul found “some disciples.” They were of John the Baptist (v. 3), hence Old Testament seekers. That they did not yet fully understand the Christian faith is evident from their reply to Paul’s question (v. 2). The word “disciple” means “learner,” or “follower,” and does not always refer to Christians (Matt. 9:14; 11:2;Mark 2:18; Luke 5:33; 7:18, 19; 11:1; John 1:35; 6:66). Followers of John the Baptist, like this group, existed into the second century.
“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” (v. 2). The question reflects Paul’s uncertainty about their spiritual status. Since all Christians receive the Holy Spirit at the moment of salvation, their answer revealed they were not yet fully Christians. They had not yet received Christian baptism (having been baptized only “into John’s baptism”), which further evidenced that they were not Christians. These disciples did not realize Jesus of Nazareth was the One to whom John’s baptism pointed. Paul gave them instruction not on how to receive the Spirit, but about Jesus Christ. “They were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (v. 5). They believed Paul’s presentation of the gospel and came to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (2:41). Although required of all Christians, baptism does not save.
Then “Paul…laid hands on them” (v. 6). This signified their inclusion into the church. Apostles were also present when the church was born (chap. 2), and when the Samaritans (chap. 8) and Gentiles (chap. 10) were included. In each case, God’s purpose was to emphasize the unity of the church. And they “spoke with tongues and prophesied.” This served as proof that they were part of the church. They also needed tangible evidence that the Holy Spirit now indwelt them, since they had not heard that He had come (v. 2).
From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.