Acts 13:12 – Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.
Take a moment to read our Manna for Today; it will certainly add clarity to what I write. There you will see that Paul (Saul) was certainly encountering demonic intrusion against his ministry and the work he was assigned to do. The Scriptures are plain; the man called “Barjesus” (also known as Elymas) was a “false prophet.” And he took it upon himself, not only to be against Paul and the faith of the Lord Jesus, but to be so rude as to attempt to insert himself in and audience between Paul and Sergius Paulus who had called to meet Paul, and to interrupt the desired meeting by withstanding Paul. Such rudeness is a common element in the works of darkness. People like Barjesus have no sense of decorum, do not honor dignitaries, and are most rude in their behavior. Christians should NEVER emulate such behavior.
So, what was Paul’s response to this obviously demonic encounter with someone who was striving to prevent the work of the Lord? The first thing he did was to pinpoint the problem and call Barjesus out for who he was. Paul did not speak in generalities. He was sensitive to Holy Spirit and knowledgeable of the Scriptures. Based on that knowledge and sensitivity, Paul spoke boldly and plainly, calling Barjesus “a child of the devil” and “enemy of all righteousness.” Paul then plainly revealed what it was that Barjesus was attempting to do; Barjesus was “a perverter of the right ways of the Lord.” Oh, but many today would say that such speech is simply too bold, unloving, and inciting hatred and strife. Yet that is precisely what Paul did.
And for those who would strive against such bluntness and boldness as Paul displayed, perhaps they should consider the 23rd chapter of Matthew in which Jesus did precisely the same thing, only with greater verbosity and likely sharper conviction. There He called the Pharisees, scribes, and religious leaders around Him “hypocrites” (six times), “blind” (five times), and “fools” (two times). In some places in America today, such words coming from a man or woman of God in any venue would be construed as hate speech. But consider this. If I see you in danger of being bitten by a rattlesnake, must I couch my words so the snake won’t be offended by saying that you are in close proximity to a fanged serpent with the potential of envenomating you? Or may I simply call it a rattlesnake? I believe you understand the analogy. The church today is surrounded by, and in some cases, infiltrated by people like Barjesus. It’s time to expose them plainly for what they are. May the Lord help and embolden His people.
Manna for Today – Acts 13:1-12; John 10:37; John 14:11; Matthew 23; Mark 3:1-6