And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
— Acts 19:17
In the past few Sparkling Gems, we’ve seen how the pagan population of the city of Ephesus was very preoccupied with the magical power of secret names, spells, and incantations. It was very significant to the citizens of the city that the demon possessing the demoniac, who was apparently well known in Ephesus, knew the name of Jesus. No one else had ever been able to help this demon-possessed man. But the evil spirit that had taken control of this tormented individual actually spoke and admitted to knowing the name of Jesus. This would have signaled to the pagan population that the name of Jesus contained great power. And the fact that the demon even acknowledged Paul would have also given the apostle a higher level of authority in the eyes of the people.
As a result of this event, a new preeminence was immediately given to the name of Jesus in Ephesus, and Paul’s influence increased. Acts 19:17 describes the impact this incident had on those who heard about it: “And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.”
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The Bible doesn’t specify how the news of this event quickly reached both the Jewish and Greek communities in Ephesus, but we know that it did. Perhaps there were eyewitnesses of the event who told others about it. Or perhaps those who had hired the seven sons of Sceva reported this event to friends, who then spread the news to others. Maybe there were firsthand witnesses of the incident who heard the screams of the exorcists and saw them running naked from the house.
Regardless of how the news was spread, it made a significant impression on both Jews and Greeks. Both groups were impressed that the name of Jesus was known by the evil spirit that inhabited this man. As a result, this verse states that “…fear fell on them all…”
The Greek word for “fear” is phobos, which in this case describes a reverential fear, hush, or amazement that literally fell on the residents of the city. It brought a speechless sense of awe to the entire community — and a heightened awareness of the name of Jesus. This is why the verse goes on to say, “…and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified” (v. 17).
It must be noted that Luke referred here to the “Lord Jesus,” not just to “Jesus.” The word “Lord” is the Greek word kurios, meaning lord or supreme master. This violent episode between the demon and the seven sons of Sceva had demonstrated that Jesus alone has the power and might to demand respect of evil spiritual forces. By calling him “Lord Jesus” in this context, Luke revealed to us that Jesus came out of the ordeal as the Champion. As a result, His name was “magnified” — enlarged, expanded, and maximized — throughout the city.
Thus, the failed attempt of the seven exorcists was an event used by God to bring attention to the name of Jesus and to escalate the pace of the work for His Kingdom in Ephesus. Large numbers of conversions took place as people turned from their occult deeds with genuine acts of repentance.
There is no question that the power of God was being unleashed in the heart of this dark pagan city and that its foundation, which had been established on the bedrock of idolatry, was being shaken to its very core. Life in Ephesus was being eternally impacted by the power of the Gospel, and many who lived in the region would never be the same again.
This is what happens when the power of God is in manifestation! It shakes people to their core and they know without any doubt that they have come into contact with the highest level of supernatural power.
Doesn’t this make you want to see the power of God manifest in your city, in your church, or in your ministry? Nothing brings glory to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ more than His divine power being unleashed through faith in full operation!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I want to see Your divine power unleashed in my city, in my church, and in our ministry. Nothing brings glory to the name of the Lord Jesus like a miracle or a supernaturally heaven-sent manifestation of divine power. Forgive me for restraining the manifestations of the Holy Spirit when He has longed to demonstrate the power of God. I am sorry and so wrong for fearing what people will think — when in fact, this is the very thing that will make the greatest impression on people. I ask You to help me from this moment forward to surrender to the great working of Your power and that this type of manifestation will cause the name of the Lord Jesus to be magnified!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I admit that the fear of man — and what other people think — has caused me to hinder the power of God from operating as God wants it to operate in our city, in our church, and in our ministry. However, from this moment forward, I confess that I am throwing open my arms to receive the supernatural assistance that heaven wants to give in terms of signs and wonders. Such signs and wonders were sent to draw people to Jesus, not deter people from Jesus — so I am going to stop wondering what people think and I’m going to become an instrument for the power of God to bring signs and wonders into manifestation!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Have there been times when God wanted to move supernaturally, and you hindered it or stopped it because you were afraid of what people would think?
- From what we’ve studied in today’s Sparkling Gem, do you see that such power magnifies the name of Jesus and brings people closer to the Kingdom of God? Do you understand that your fear of people’s reactions has been altogether inaccurate?
- The next time you sense the leading of the Holy Spirit to operate in the gifts of the Spirit or to unleash the power of God, what are you going to do? It’s going to take a firm decision, one that you’ll stand by, so what is your truthful answer?