A Blind Guide
Even after living in our new house for almost two years, I still stumble around in the dark. For example, there’s a large trunk at the foot of our bed. I know exactly where it is, but when nature calls in the dark of night, almost every time I run into it. Returning to bed, I try to be as quiet as a mouse so that I don’t wake up Mary, but crash into a closed door.
It’s one thing to grope around physically in the dark. It’s another to think that you have great eyesight spiritually, but you’re actually stumbling around in the dark and causing others to fall with you.
About AD 45 on the island of Crete, Elymas thought he could see things clearly in the spiritual realm. He blended his Jewish beliefs with powerful cultic powers. Sergius Paulus, the Roman proconsul of Crete, had this spiritual advisor at his side and when he hears about Barnabas and Saul teaching across his island, he invites them for an audience so that he can hear firsthand what they’re teaching.
What happens when Elymas, the self-promoting spiritualist and counselor to the ruler, meets the missionaries sent from the church of Antioch?
“So Barnabas and Saul, having been sent out by the Holy Spirit, came down to Seleucia, and there sailed to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the Word of God in the Jewish synagogue. (Now John was along with them as an assistant.) They traveled across the entire island until they came to Paphos where they encountered an occultist, a Jewish false prophet, named Bar-Jesus. He was an advisor to Sergius Paulus, the Roman proconsul. Now the governor, an intelligent man, summoned Barnabas and Saul wanting to hear the Word of God. But Elymus, the occultist, (Elymus is the translation of the name Bar-Jesus), resisted them, trying to turn the Proconsul from the faith.
Then Saul, also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his eyes on Elymas and said, ‘You son of the devil, you’re full of all deceit and fraud, the enemy of all that’s right. Will you not stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now look, the hand of the Lord is against you. You will not be able to see the light of the sun for a time.’”
Right then mist and darkness fell upon him, and he groped around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, overwhelmed by the teaching of the Lord.” Acts 13:4-12
Paul knew what it was like to suddenly become blind and in his blindness he was humbled to trust in the resurrected Jesus. In the National Geographic Society’s special edition titled, Jesus and the Apostles –Christianity’s Early Rise, Chris Johns, the Chief Content Officer, wrote, “FAITH, MY DICTIONARY SAYS, is a ‘firm belief in something for which there is no proof.’ A leap of faith is a step across the space of mere sentiment onto the terra firma of personal conviction.”
Faith is not a leap into the dark of my personal convictions or anyone else’s. It is depending on the testimony of the only Man who has lived on this planet and actually rose from the dead. This is the only place to find solid ground when it comes to getting the truth about what lies beyond.
Last week billions in the world focused on Jesus’s death on the cross. Luke began his Gospel stressing that he would give us convincing proofs that Jesus not only died, but also rose. Let’s use this time to encourage people to read Luke and Acts with an open mind. There’s no need to keep stumbling around in the dark.
LORD, I pray that you will move many political leaders around the world to be smart like Sergius Paulus and seek out teachers who can tell them the truth about Jesus.
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