Be true to who you are
“ But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith.”
Bar-Jesus meaning son of Jesus practiced some sort of supernatural activity that was known in Paphos. He was also just called sorcerer. His work defined who he was.
Who was this man?
Did he create the name Bar-Jesus because he wanted people to think he was a disciple of Jesus, that he was doing greater works than Him?
Did people not see the man but just what he did and so gave him the name of his work?
It is all a bit confusing. Though several commentators think they have found the answer to this complexity.
Sometimes we just have to go with our gut feeling don’t we?
Like Peter, who realised that something wasn’t right with Ananias and Sapphira, Saul now faces his first false prophet and goes with his belief that all is not what it appears to be.
Elymas tried to undo all that Barnabas and Saul had succeeded in sharing their faith with Sergius Paulus.
But something else happened which is not in our daily verse but I want to mention it here as it sits well within the present thought. Elymas wasn’t the only person with a name that had been changed to fit his situation.
Saul decided he would change his name. It was here at Paphos having encountered Bar-Jesus, Elymas, he decided I want to be called ‘small’. He could have chosen to use names that would appear to be great and worthy, but he chose the opposite, probably because that is what he felt, what he perhaps learnt from his encounter with Elymas. That man was a trickster, trying to appear great and who tried to turn Sergius against them.
I can imagine Saul about to move on from Paphos deciding that he had enough with big deceiving men who announce they are son of Jesus, disciples with amazing huge ministries, trying to attract crowds for large sums of money. Today I am going to be different.
It is time for more true disciples of Jesus to be small in the Christian culture of big is best.
My name is Andrew Paul. Andrew means man, masculine, macho. I am not that person. I have never been called Andrew except at a security airport desk. I have tried to be that person but I just look ridiculous. Some want me to be that person to fit their mould of leadership and they are disappointed. My name is Paul. I am small, missions has ruined me. I sit with those who mourn today, with those who have nothing because the deceiver took from their life. I sit with the abused, the leper, the dying. I sit with the persecuted where corruption and cruelty are part of their daily life. I weep often. But as I try to decrease more and more, as I become smaller it is there in that place that I find a very big God and when I do I smile and laugh, for He is good and His love endures forever.
I am trying to be true to who I am. You may worry that you are not what people think you are. That is perfectly okay. The problem comes when you announce you are great but you are not great at all. Don’t do that. But don’t pander the needs of others who always need a guru in their midst. Resist. Be who you are. But come and be small with me, it is great down here in the dirt, God is great!