Acts 19: Paul in Ephesus (present day Turkey)
This is Paul’s third missionary journey, which may have been prompted by the need to correct any misunderstandings in the churches Paul had previously planted.
In the first 12 verses, Paul meets some people, who had only heard ‘a version’ of John’s message, and did not know Jesus. By asking insightful questions, Paul was able to find out what was lacking in their understanding and teach the true and full gospel, with immediate and visible change in them. We need to make every effort (Paul took 2 years) to share the complete gospel message.
The next few stories describe the confrontation of the power of the true God and those involved in magic and occult. Paul meets up with a group that is involved with occult practice for profit and power (verse 13-18). But it is clearly evident that Jesus is not a spiritual power we can manipulate; He has complete power over evil spirits.
The theme of spiritual warfare continues in verses 23-41, and here financial gain was the prime motivation. Looking at today’s world, nothing much has changed; greed, power and status are still among the strongest sinful motivations of mankind.
The power to change comes from Jesus (verses 18-20) and the Gospel’s power is unstoppable. “In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power”.
May we be bold in sharing the full gospel, despite opposition and possible personal sacrifices that need to be made!
Ref: New Bible Commentary, Life Application Bible