Acts 13:11, 12
And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is on you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a season…
We can imagine something of the earnestness of Barnabas and Saul as they set out on their new mission, feeling that they had "the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ" in their charge. Others felt this too, or, if they did not feel it, feared it. And one, in his iniquitous attempt to neutralize the force of it, courts his own discomfiture and strengthens the cause he had designed to undermine. Notice -
I. THE GUILT HERE PUNISHED. It has been already in trenchant language denounced (vers. 9, 13), but deed is to follow word. The guilt had certain aggravations.
1. It is the guilt of a man averse himself to light and conviction.
2. It is the guilt of a man who was thus averse chiefly because he saw true light, would stop his dark ways and probably put an end "to his gains."
3. It is the guilt of a man who had loved it long, and long habituated himself to a career of deception of others and taking Heaven's Name in vain.
4. It is the guilt of one who, misled himself, sets himself to mislead others.
5. It is the guilt of one who would mislead another in matter of deepest, dearest, tenderest moment to him.
6.It is the guilt of one who will do this in those sensitive, critical moments when decision trembles in the balance, and his fellow man is looking to the light and inclining to it.
7. It is the guilt of a man who will lay himself out to crush with tenfold vigor the events of the conversion of one whose good character, position, and influence would count for much if he should turn to the light. So correspondingly great would be the forfeiture and destruction of good, the responsibility of which would lie at the door of the tempter.
II. THE PUNISHMENT ITSELF.
1. Elymas has pretended, probably for a long, long time, to work signs and wonders among a deluded people. He shall now in punishment, incurred by the filling up of the full measure of his iniquities, learn what a real sign and wonder and miracle are, in his own painful experience. How much had he taken out of others in money and in credulity. He shall be reminded of the past.
2. He tried to keep another in the dark and amid the groping and the wandering. He himself shall know the grievousness of darkness and the humiliation of groping and the bitter dissatisfaction of the wanderer.
3. He tried to take away from another the help of a good strong hand divinely proffered him. He shall know what it is to have to beg the leading of even a human hand himself.
4. Yet hope and "room for repentance" are not pronounced for ever closed for Elymas. And the punishment awarded him is less than the injury he had sought to inflict - less by far.
III. THE LEADING EFFECTS OF THE PUNISHMENT.
1. It removes the transgressor off the ground.
2. It effectually confounds his endeavors, and turns him into an impressive witness to that truth which he had resisted for himself and tried to take the comfort of from another.
3. It produces strong faith and admiring astonishment and grateful acceptance of "the truth as it is in Jesus," on the part of the deputy threatened in his highest interests.
4. It leaves a long warning, in the stricken blindness of Elymas, though it was but temporary, of the verdict that Christ passes on the heinousness of that sin which consists in attempting to blight the opening religious growth and knowledge of any.
5. In the temporary character of the blindness of Elymas, provision was secured for a certain resuscitation of the whole matter, in his own memory and in that of many others, whensoever he might regain vision.
6. An evident proof is given how God both rules and overrules, can convert and does convert, all the efforts of his opponents against him "to the furtherance of the gospel." For this was literally the issue of the conduct of one whom not the bitterness of a prejudiced tongue, but the sober truth of an inspired apostle, describes as "full of all subtilty and mischief, a child of the devil, an enemy of all righteousness, and an unceasing perverter of the right ways of the Lord." - B.
Parallel VersesKJV: And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.
WEB: Now, behold, the hand of the Lord is on you, and you will be blind, not seeing the sun for a season!" Immediately a mist and darkness fell on him. He went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand.