Scripture

Acts 19:1-22

Paul in Ephesus

19 While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when[a] you believed?”

They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”

“John’s baptism,” they replied.

Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues[b] and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.

Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God. But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.

11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.

13 Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.

17 When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. 18 Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. 19 A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.[c] 20 In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.

21 After all this had happened; Paul decided[d] to go to Jerusalem, passing through Macedonia and Achaia. “After I have been there,” he said, “I must visit Rome also.” 22 He sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he stayed in the province of Asia a little longer.

Reflection

The noted philosopher, theologian, and Jesuit Priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin once said that "We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience. "Today's passage reminds us that the faith journey God is calling all of humanity to, is a spiritual journey that seeks to lead our hearts, imagination, and our spirit back to a "right relationship" with God.

In fact, as we reflect on today's passage, I think it's important to note that all of Paul's activity and involvement with the people of Corinth and Ephesus was to ultimately create an environment where humanity would have a grace-filled way to connect with the spirit of God. Thus, Paul's encounter with the disciples in Ephesus and his desire to baptize them in the name of Jesus and even witnessing their being filled with the Holy Spirit was a way to connect our humanity to the graceful spirit of God.

Likewise, our acts of piety, our spiritual practices and observances and our service in the world, is our grace-fill work that connect us to the graceful spirit of God. Thus our work is more than working to be righteous but our work is informed by a grace given to us in spite of our sinful nature.

Question for today's reflection: How does your "work and views" align you with a path that connects your spirit with the graceful spirit of God?

Prayer

God as I enter this day speak to my heart that I may receive new life from you. That I may use all of my life for your service that how I live may create a path that joins me with your grace. Amen!