Mic. 5:2 π Mt. 2:4-6 π Mt. 16:18 π Jn. 1:11 π Jn. 3:1-2 π Jn. 7:40-44 π Jn. 7:42 π Jn. 7:45-49 π Jn. 7:50-52 π Jn. 16:2 π Jn. 19:39-40 π Acts 7:58 π Acts 8:1 π Acts 8:3 π Acts 9:1-2 π Acts 9:17-18 π Acts 13:6-7 π Acts 13:8 π Acts 13:9-12 π 2 Cor. 4:4 π Gal. 1:13-14 π Col. 2:15 π 1 Pet. 5:9
Sergius Paulus: Luke records:
Now when [Barnabas, Saul and John Mark] had gone through the island [of Cyprus] to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus, who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. ( Acts 13:6-7; top )
Sergius Paulus, as proconsul of the island of Cyprus, was the governor or military commander of that province - a position similar to that of Pontius Pilate in Judea. Like many others of his day, Sergius Paulus appears to be what church historians call a God fearer. These God fearers were Gentiles whose hearts were drawn toward the God of the Hebrew Scriptures but who were repelled by the traditions and practices of the Jews, especially circumcision. This group of God fearers was one of the key factors in the quick spread of the gospel in the first century as God had prepared Gentile hearts to receive what the Jewish people would by and large reject - Jesus the Christ.
Sergius Paulus, just like Pontius Pilate, was undoubtedly assigned a principality to influence his decisions and actions. Apparently, though, he was a good man and not as susceptible to evil influences as the demonic would have liked him to be because the demonic had thought it necessary to bring into the picture a false prophet who, in the name of God, would advise the proconsul with demonic utterances and insights. Now Sergius Paulus wants to hear the word of God from these traveling preachers, Barnabas and Saul.
But Elymas the sorcerer (for so [Bar-Jesus’] name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. ( Acts 13:8; top )
Let us recall Peter’s instruction about the devil:
Resist him, steadfast in the faith... ( 1 Pet. 5:9; top )
The demonically-inspired sorcerer demonstrates clearly the intent of the Satanic (to prevent anyone and everyone from entry into the life of faith in Christ Jesus) and their strategy (deception). As we will see in this account, the demonic has no way to forcibly overcome the power of Christ (also see Col. 2:15 ; Mt. 16:18; top ) so they use deception to pervert the way of following after Christ.
Luke’s record continues:
Then Saul, who is also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.” And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord. ( Acts 13:9-12; top )
Sergius Paulus no doubt wrestled against the principality assigned to Cyprus all the days he held power as a Roman proconsul. But the scheme of the demonic to influence him through this false prophet was destroyed and Sergius Paulus, that intelligent, sincere seeker of truth, entered into a much greater light of the glory of the gospel of Christ.
Nicodemus: John records:
Then the officers [of the Temple guard] came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why have you not brought Him?”
The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this Man!”
Then the Pharisees answered them, “Are you also deceived? Have any of the rulers or the Pharisees believed in Him? But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.” ( Jn. 7:45-49; top )
Here we see yet again how those under demonic blindness accuse others of their own exact ailment. John continues:
Nicodemus (he who came to Jesus by night [ Jn. 3:1-2 ], being one of them) said to them, “Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?”
They answered and said to him, “Are you also from Galilee? Search and look [in the Scriptures - see Jn. 7:40-44 ], for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.” ( Jn. 7:50-52; top )
Whereas the chief priests and Pharisees had succumbed to the work of the power assigned to the Sanhedrin, Nicodemus, who would later help bury Jesus’ body ( Jn. 19:39-40; top ), was at least free enough of the demonic blindness to extend toward Jesus His right to a fair trial. Nicodemus enjoyed a greater light, a greater freedom from the power assigned to the Sanhderin, than did the chief priests and Pharisees.
Let us also note with grave sobriety how the demonically-deceived Jewish leaders relied on the Scriptures to reject Jesus as the Christ. The Christ was indeed to come from Bethlehem ( Jn. 7:42 ; Mt. 2:4-6 ; Mic. 5:2 ) but the Jewish rulers did not correctly interpret the Scripture and apply the prophecy to Jesus’ unusual birth in Bethlehem. In the same way, religious “Christian” leaders today routinely reject Christ, His truths and His genuine followers because they are unable to spiritually discern the truth of the matter. Jesus still comes to those who label themselves “His own” but “His own” still refuse to receive Him. (see Jn. 1:11; top )
Saul of Tarsus: Luke records:
And Ananias [after being so instructed by the Lord]...entered the house [where Saul was]; and laying his hands on [Saul] he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately there fell from [Saul’s] eyes something like scales, and he received his sight at once; and he arose and was baptized. ( Acts 9:17-18; top )
Saul, who was so dominated by demonic deceptions that he thought he was doing service for God by persecuting and destroying what was known as the Nazarene sect (see Acts 7:58 ; 8:1 , 3 ; 9:1-2 ; Gal. 1:13-14 ; Jn. 16:2 ), was liberated from the blindness the lords of darkness had built up in his mind so that he could not see and walk in the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ. (see 2 Cor. 4:4; top ) His transformation from a son of darkness to a son of light was demonstrated by scales falling from his eyes - a physical picture of the spiritual reality he was experiencing.
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