When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor.
Thoughts for Today:Sometimes the Lord makes His awesome presence and authority known through tragedy. Previously, the sons of the Jewish priest Sceva had attempted to cast out a demon with disastrous consequences -- receiving "such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding." It is interesting to me that in our passage today, as the experience had become more widely known, "they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor." In other words, becoming gripped in fear and honoring the Lord are closely connected.
We see in this account how God will use a godless entity or event to create a situation leading to fear and the lifting up of the name of Jesus in high honor. I'm reminded of a recent example: the Newsweek headline read "Sex, Shame and the Catholic Church: 80 Priests Accused of Child Abuse in Boston." At about the same time, ABC news carried a story titled, "Priest Accused Of Jogging Nude Now On Leave" the same priest who was forced to leave a parish in Sterling, Colorado after it was alleged he had given "nude sex talks" to eleven year old boys while on a three day camping trip. Similar stories were also picked up by various news media. What was even more troubling about these cases was the repeat behavior they all seemed to represent: rather than address the problem, the organizations involved had merely transferred the problem to another location.
I wonder how long the leadership felt they could continue on with this practice, not taking greater measures to protect and ensure the safety of the children and parishioners who were placed in their care, before God would bring down His judgment upon them. With their inaction, God used the godless media to do His work, just like He allowed the demon to deal with the sons of Sceva. Hopefully we will "all [become] seized with fear" (not just the Catholic Church), learn from this example and experience, and once again the name of the Lord Jesus will be returned and "held in high honor."
Questions to Ponder:I have not intended today's devotion to be an indictment of the Catholic Church, rather as a warning to all of us of the danger we face when we tolerate or ignore inappropriate behavior in ourselves or in the Lord's church. The Lord will not indefinitely allow sinful activity to go unpunished. Are you walking a godly and truly righteous path? Or have you allowed sin to be covered and temporarily hidden from public view? The Bible tells us to turn from our sin and repent -- what sin do you continue on with that needs to be addressed and resolved? Bring it into the light and let God cleanse you.