Daily Office Study 9-28-2020
Once again we find miracles happening in the early church. This time we see that the handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were brought to the sick, their diseases left them, and the evil spirits came out of them. This is a new twist. It speaks to the intimacy Paul had with God, and how he radiated God’s presence, much like Moses’ face shone. It is also similar to Peter’s shadow. These indicate proximity to the apostles, but also the apostles proximity to God. Yet we see that the miracles in Acts do not ever really follow a pattern. There are some who go unhealed. Some who are healed by touch, some by word. This is similar to how Jesus performed miracles. Sometimes he would say the word from far away, sometimes he made mud to put on people’s eyes. One time Jesus touched a man twice. Knowing Jesus miracles and the miracles of the apostles should inform us on how to read the Seven sons of Sceva. We have no indication of who they are, but it seems that they were not a part of the Way. They resemble Simon the Sorcerer who wanted to purchase the Holy Spirit. They tried using Jesus name who Paul speaks of. This means that they did not really know Jesus. For them the Jesus was a form of an incantation. Willie Jennings speaks of it as if it were some technique. While technique is important to the Christian life, in the sense that becoming a better reader of scripture is a form of a technique, etc. The life in Christ is not about technique, and the power of the Holy Spirit is not something which we can Chanel or control. Our life in Christ is about relationship, it is about prayer for the sake of enjoying Jesus and abiding with Jesus. The miracles God performs through us as a result of us staying intone with God, not because we want it to happen. All this to say, we must abide in Christ. The effect of the failed exorcism is that people burn their magic books. The history of burning books is sorted at best. But they found the contents of these books to be dangerous. If they were to sell them they would harm others as well. It was a costly sacrifice as 50 pieces of silver was a lot of money. The silver coin could indicate either a years wage or a days wage. On the low end, this value is 5 million with the high end being 1.5 billion! Either way, they light on fire 5 million dollars worth of paper so that they would not be led astray. 1. Do you treat your spiritual disciplines as if they are techniques which will grant you a result other than intimacy with Jesus? Are they a means to an end or are the a means to Jesus? 2. The book burning reveals that not all media is for us to consume. Contemporary science shows that we become like that which we consume. While you might not be consuming magic books, is there media (newspapers, magazines, movies, shows, books, etc) which is forming you away from Jesus? Are you unknowingly moving away from Jesus because of your entertainments?