What Astonished?

I was reading through Acts 13 today and saw something I hadn’t ever seen. It is in the account of Barnabas and Paul in Cyprus. They come across a magician whose name is Elymas, he is said to have strongly opposed the work of the apostles which was teaching and spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It says that Paul who was filled with the Holy Spirit confronts Elymas, leaving him blind.

What is interesting is what Luke writes next:

Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. [12] Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.
(Acts 13:7-12 ESV)

The procounsul saw what had occured and believed. What is intersting is that it says “for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.” It was not so much the fact that this magician, who had probably done his own type of signs and wonders, was now blind, but it was the Truth of the Lord that he was astonshied by.

How easy is it today, in American churches, to feel like we need the right lights, the cool intro, the amazing band? We pour our week into trying to be innovative, or thinking up some “relevant” message to give, when what is really astonishing is the message of the gospel. That is what is amazing and that is what will either draw the crowd to their knees or further harden their hearts away from the Lord. Lights, drums, lasers, cool videos, and even “Contemporvant” services will not transform lives, at least not eternally. They may in fact have a way of distracting from the truly astonishing aspect of Christianity, Jesus Christ.

Let this be an encouragement for all ministry leaders. Let what God says is astonishing be the thing we trust in, and prepare most to put forward whenever we can.

Let’s not think our small sparklers will help add to the amazement of the nuclear bomb of the Gospel.

Acts 13 – ESV Online

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