(1-10) Paul in Ephesus
Paul took to heart the words of encouragement that God spoke to him in the previous chapter: Do not be afraid, do not be silent, for I am with you. Wherever he went, he preached the Gospel boldly and faithfully. For two years, he labored in Ephesus until all the residents of Asia – both Jews and Greeks – had heard the word of the Lord. Paul’s dedication to his work is an example for us all to be devoted to the mission which God has called each of us to accomplish.
(11-20) The Sons of Sceva
The seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva tried to imitate the extraordinary miracles that God was doing through Paul by invoking the name of Jesus into their conjurings and magical practices. They were, however, unable to heal anyone and unable to cast out evil spirits because they did not personally know Christ for themselves as Paul did. They were powerless (and ultimately overcome) by evil and darkness because the goodness and light of Christ did not dwell in them.
If we have no personal relationship with Jesus the Christ, the power of God will not have liberty to work in our lives and we will not be able to overcome sin and evil. It is not enough for us to know Jesus through someone else (like our pastor or parents). We must know Jesus for ourselves.
Favorite verse: (20) So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.