God bless you in the exalted name of Jesus Christ, whose name has been and ought to be magnified (Matthew 28:18).
I’m amazed at the impact of the blunder made by the seven sons of Sceva. As a result, it says, “the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.” Acts 19:17 causes me to reflect back on Acts 19:10 which says, that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks. I’m sure that part of the reason they lent an ear to Paul’s teaching was the fear that fell upon them when this incident became known to all the Jews and Greeks dwelling at Ephesus.
There are three steps in these three verses I want us to note. First, the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. Second, because of the magnification of the name of Jesus, the people acknowledged his lordship, repented of their occult practices, and changed their lives. Third, the Word of God grew mightily and prevailed. This order is not by accident. People’s lives are not changed to this magnitude unless the name of Jesus is magnified. Neither will we ever see the Word of God grow mightily and prevail unless people’s lives are changed by the power of God in the name of Lord Jesus.
And this was [ginomai] known [gnōstos] to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear [phobos] fell [epipiptō] on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified [megalunō].18 And many that believed came, and confessed [exomologeō], and shewed [anangellō] their deeds.19 Many of them also which used curious arts [periergos] brought [sumpherō] their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted [sumpsēphizō] the price of them, and found [heuriskō] it fifty thousand pieces of silver.20 So [houtōs] mightily [kratos] grew [auxanō] the word of God [some texts have kurios, Lord] and prevailed [ischuō].
It was very significant to the Jews and Greeks dwelling at Ephesus that the possessed man, who was apparently well known in Ephesus, knew the name of Jesus. When this encounter was broadcast among the local Jews and Greeks, the fact that this tormented individual actually spoke and admitted to knowing Jesus, had an impact. The fact that the spirit also acknowledged Paul would have also given the apostle a higher level of authority in the eyes of the people. As a result, a new preeminence was immediately given to the name of Jesus in Ephesus, and Paul’s influence increased.
It says it “was [ginomai] known [gnōstos].” Ginomai means “to emerge or become.” It connotes transitioning from one point, realm, or condition to another. Gnōstos is derived from ginōskō which means “to know experientially.” Gnōstos indicates knowledge through first-hand, personal experience. There was no modern media back then, so the news had to be spread my word of mouth. Regardless of how the news was spread, it made a significant impression on both the Jewish and Greek communities in Ephesus. For it says “. . .fear fell on them all. . . .”
The Greek word for “fear” is phobos, which in this case describes a reverential fear, awe or amazement that resulted in a heightened awareness of the name of the Lord Jesus. The effect of this reverence was that “the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified [megalunō].” That means it was esteemed more highly. The name of the Lord Jesus was extolled, lauded, celebrated or declared great.
That name gives us the legal right to have fellowship with the Father like Jesus Christ did, so we, like him, can operate all available manifestations. We have fellowship with Jesus Christ as we renew our minds to the Word and put on the same mind that he had. It says fear or respect fell on them all. That word fall, epipiptō, used here with fear is used 3 other times with how the holy spirit fell. This indicates that it fell “from someplace above,” God was involved in these situations. God was at work opening these great doors of utterance.
This reverence led to the believers’ confessing and showing their deeds. “Confess” is the Greek word exomologeō, a compound of ek, completely out from and homologeō, to say the same thing about. Homologeō means to confess and the ek preposition prefixed to it adds to the intensity of the confession. This compound means to fully agree and to acknowledge that agreement openly (whole-heartedly) without reservation (i.e. holding back nothing). “To show” is anangellō. It means to bring back word, announce, report, or declare. It properly means “to tell all the way up,” (i.e. clearly). It denotes a communication that shows it has been thoroughly thought through.
They got rid of all “their” curious arts and “their” books. Curious arts, periergos, literally means “around work” and Bullinger translates it as “going beyond that which is legitimate.” Perhaps some of this did include what we know as the occult, but they just stopped messing around with the odd or fringe man-made behaviors and stuck to the simplicity of the walk of our Lord Jesus Christ. The false ministers and their teachings got exposed. The believers in Acts 19 could now identify those practices which seemed to be normal and appropriate, but in reality, were very devilish. Then, the word of God grew mightily and prevailed. Let’s learn from this record and repeat the same results in our day, time, and hour.
“Brought,” sumpherō, means to bring together, to collect, or to be profitable. It means to combine in a way that brings a profit or gain, especially by a “concurrence of circumstances” that results in benefit or advancement. The word “counted,” sumpsēphizō, means to count together and this is its only use in the New Testament. The unique thing about the phrase “brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver” is that although the monetary value was huge, the real profit they gained came from burning the curious arts and books. This burning was not a loss; it was a gain. They profited enormously from their actions.
The failed attempt of the seven exorcists brought attention to the name of Jesus and increased the intensity and magnitude of the work of the Kingdom of God in Ephesus. Large numbers of conversions took place as people forsook their occult practices and repented publicly. The power of God transformed Ephesus to its very core. The curious arts of the occult gave way to Word of God which prevailed in this once devilish stronghold. The kingdom of darkness was throttled with overpowering force and strength, which could not be resisted.
That is what happens when the power of God is manifested! It shakes people to their core, and they know without any doubt that they have come into contact with the highest level of supernatural power available through the name of the Lord Jesus. So, if we want to see the Word of God grow mightily and prevail, we will need to magnify the name of the Lord Jesus. Why not? Who is better than we are to get it done. After all we are God’s best and certainly God blessed.