Saturday, May 28, 2011

Acts 13: Elymas the Sorcerer, meet Paul

With Acts 13 Luke pivots away from Peter and the Jerusalem Church and spends most of the rest of the book describing Paul's ministry to the Gentiles. The central theme of the book after all is "Christ, the Light of the Gentiles."

At the Spirit's command the brothers set apart Saul and Barnabas for this ministry and send them along. (From here on Luke calls Saul "Paul", which means "small".) A little while later Paul is addressing Sergius Paulus, proconsul of the town of Paphos on the island of Cyprus. A "court sorcerer" with a Greek name of Elymas and Jewish name of Bar-Jesus opposes Paul and the gospel. Paul prophesies firmly against him and he is struck blind. How interesting that Elymas is afflicted with the affliction with which Paul himself was afflicted. Perhaps this is the Spirit's way of saying "thinking themselves enlightened, they became blind." Or perhaps it holds out a hope of deliverance; the very man speaking the prophecy was once struck blind himself, but by grace he "saw his way clear" to repent and believe and serve. His sight was restored, in more ways than one.

Whatever. Paul's words and power amaze Sergius Paulus, and another Roman joins the Eternal Kingdom. Of Elymas Luke says nothing more.

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