Text: Mark 1
"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12
The work of Missions is not just a matter of preaching the Word of God. Opposition soon arose to resist the ministry of preaching. One particular experience was singled out for mention.
At Paphos, Paul and Barnabas were invited to speak with Sergius Paulus, a proconsul of Rome. This intelligent Roman official was genuinely interested in the gospel that Paul proclaimed. The opposition that arose was well captured in the following text.
“But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood
them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith.”
THE GREATER POWER OF GOD
Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, uttered awesome words of power against Elymas. This opposition to the Gospel must be unquestionably put down.
“Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with Holy Spirit,
looked intently at him and said,
‘O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil,
you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting
the straight ways of the Lord?
And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you,
and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.’
And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around
seeking someone to lead him by the hand.”
1. The leadership of Paul
The mantle of leadership had fallen upon Paul. He was the person, rather than Barnabas, who faced Elymas the sorcerer fearlessly.
2. The authority of Paul
There was no mistaking the apostolic authority behind these words. Elymas was indeed struck blind after this judgment was pronounced.
THE DEPARTURE OF MARK
Soon after this ministry at Paphos, Luke recorded that Mark left the Mission field.
“Now when Paul and his party set sail from Paphos,
they came to Perga in Pamphylia;
and John, departing from them, returned to Jerusalem.”