JESUS AND MAGIC: Acts 19:11-20


Acts 19:11-20 11 And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. 13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” 14 Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this.15 But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” 16 And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered allof them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. 18 Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. 19 And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily. 

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.


In Acts 19, Jesus shows his power over sickness and demonic activity is far superior to the magic that was practiced in Ephesus. In addition, we see at least three other distinct things. First, we see the weakness of religion and the power of the gospel when comparing Paul to the sons of Sceva. Second, we see Jesus will not be used or manipulated, seen clearly by how the sons of Sceva get whipped by a demon when they try to simply borrow Jesus’ power. Third, we see Jesus will cost you more than you want to give, yet give you more than you ever imagined. It’s probable the new Christians weren’t thrilled when they realized they needed to get rid of $6 million worth of demonic books. They could have kept them or at least sold them, after all. But by God’s grace they counted the cost and made an open spectacle of their repentance, showing their allegiance is now to Jesus. The cost of following Jesus is great, yet the reward is far greater than anything we ever leave behind. Not simply because Jesus gives us stuff but because He gives us Himself. 


1. Study through Acts 19:11-20 together. What stands out to you and why? 

2. In what ways did Jesus show His power is far superior to the magic that was practiced in Ephesus? How does knowing Jesus’ power give you hope as you face powerful evil in your every day life, and can you give an example? 

3. In what ways do you see the weakness of religion with the sons of Sceva? What about the new Christians who burn their books? In what ways do you see the power of the gospel in Paul’s life and ministry? 

“The fact that Jesus will not be used or manipulated is seen clearly in how the sons of Sceva get whipped by a demon when they try to simply borrow Jesus’ power.” 

4. What would it look like for someone to seek to use or manipulate Jesus today? In what ways have you sought to use or manipulate Jesus? 

In Luke 9:23-26 Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” 

5. What did it cost the Christians in Ephesus to repent and follow Jesus? What has it cost you to be a Christian? Are there things you are still holding on to—habits, possessions, ideals, etc.—that you need to repent of and glorify Jesus? 



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