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Tag Archives: the Great Magician

A Reason to Reconsider

Imitation is a response by an observer or observers who replicate another’s behavior. This can be viewed as a form a flattery when the originator sees others coping a dance move, expression or unique style. One of the nicknames Jesus received during the first century was the Great Magician. Jealous of Jesus’ great healing powers, religious leaders began to refer to Jesus as an illusionist, performing miracles in the name of Satan, Matthew 12:24. Despite these claims, Jesus’ ministry inspired others to become faith healers without having a personal relationship with God.

Then some of the traveling Jewish exorcists also attempted to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I implore you and solemnly command you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches!” – Acts 19:13

During a trip to Ephesus, Luke details a family of brothers who became Jewish exorcists. This isn’t a scene out of the Exorcism of Emily Rose, a 2005 film. Rather, the sons of Sceva traveled to homes filled with desperate individuals hoping to be set free from demonic oppression and possession. Apparently, this was a viable occupation, making enough money and successful enough to rid souls from imps. Yet, when this crew confronted a legion of demons, all 7 got their butts kicked, barely escaping, fleeing in fear.

This became known to all who lived in Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified and exalted. 18 Many of those who had become believers were coming, confessing and disclosing their [former sinful] practices. 19 And many of those who had practiced magical arts collected their books and [throwing book after book on the pile] began burning them in front of everyone. They calculated their value and found it to be 50,000 pieces of silver, Acts 19:17-19.

Like the top grossing horror films of all time, fear gripped everyone who interviewed these brothers or witnessed this assault. According to Luke, the thought of imitating the Christian faith stopped, resulting in a spiritual awakening that spread to practicing witches. Contrite hearts began to purge their lives from anything that attempted to imitate God’s power. Subsequently, magical books worth 50,000 pieces of silver were burned. The fear of God from what happened to the 7 sons of Sceva served as a reason to reconsider previous practices by embracing Jesus as Lord and Savior.

by Jay Mankus

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Which is Right in God’s Eyes?

Jesus was a master debater, always silencing those who tried to discredit his authority.  Whenever challenged by religious leaders, teachers of the law or wise individuals, Jesus used a common strategy to debunk his opponents.  One of the more famous encounters occurred after Jesus healed a demon possessed man.  His skeptics claimed that Jesus was secretly working for the devil, similar to a magician deceiving a crowd as an illusionist.

So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan?  If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.  If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.  And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come, Mark 3:23-26.

To prevent further minds from believing in Jesus, Jewish officials tried to create a different memory of this popular leader.  Thus, one of the ancient Jewish writings discovered is known of the Talmud.  Authors of this historical book describe Jesus as the Great Magician.  Unable to logically explain the exorcisms, healings and miracles of Jesus, rabbis used earthly terms to de-emphasize his power.  Despite these efforts, people still believe in God’s power.

No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions, Matthew 22:46.

As atheists continue to plant seeds of doubt at local college campus’ in the minds of students, is anyone asking what is right in God’s eyes?  Sure, movies like God is Not Dead and the War Room are making inroads, but it seems like Christians in America are fighting a losing battle.  Perhaps, its time to use the tactics of Jesus to convince a generation sitting on the fence.  Thus, whether you are debating absolutes, morality or worldviews, don’t forget to ask what is right in God’s eyes.

by Jay Mankus

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