Understanding Acts | Elymas’ Blindness | Acts 13.4-12 | Movementministriesblog.com

by | Jan 2, 2023

“The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper. They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, 10 “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? 11 Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.” Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12 When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.” Acts 13.4-12

Now here’s a name I bet you haven’t heard in Scripture – Elymas. It means sorcerer and was the name given to the false prophet also known as Bar-Jesus. He stood opposed to the Apostles as they arrived in Cyprus and Paphos.

Now Elymas was a “Jewish” sorcerer and a false prophet. He was not without influence however. He was an “attendant”, i.e. advisor, of the Roman proconsul (or Governor) name Sergius Paula’s who is described as an “intelligent man” who called for Saul/Paul and Barnabas “because he wanted to hear the word of God.”

Now as you can imagine, a sorcerer, who is a wizard, dealing with magic or claiming or believing to have magical powers wanted nothing to do with these men of God. It’s also my belief that sorcerers gain their magic from their connection with the demonic. The king of demons is Satan himself, who wants nothing to do with Jesus or his followers. As a result, Elymas, was opposed spiritually to these men and “tried to turn the proconsul from the faith.” But Paul called him out for who he was saying, “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everyone that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?“

The irony is that just a short time before, perhaps a year or more, Paul was doing exactly this! He wasn’t a sorcerer but he was perverting the right ways of the Lord. And so Paul identified what was happening and called Elymas out for it. He also punished him by making him blind for a period of time. As you will remember, physical blindness was used on Paul by Jesus and caused him to see his spiritual blindness, turning him back to the Lord and putting him on a radical road to repentance. The blindness of Elymas also caused Sergius, the proconsul, to believe in the Lord.

I find it very interesting that Paul dealt with Elymas in a very similar way in which he had been dealt. We don’t know the result of Elymas’ blindness but can only hope that this experience caused him to turn to the Lord Jesus as did Paul under a similar circumstance.

Sometimes God uses difficulty to draw us closer to him. I remember after 9/11 happened, the churches were packed. People were praying. People were sensitive to the needs of others. We saw one another in a new light. It took something as tragic as a terror attack to bring people back to the Lord.

I would pray that God would draw us back to him with gentleness. However, when necessary, he will use any means possible to cause our repentance. Even the blindness of a sorcerer named Elymas.

“O Lord God, in this new year, I give you thanks. I thank you for the kindness of your Spirit which leads us to repentance. I think you for the steps you take to draw us back into a relationship with you. Have mercy on us! Send us your Holy Spirit that we might know the truth of your love and the power in your Word. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen