“And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. 18 Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. 19 And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.” (Acts 19:17-20 (ESV)
So what looks like defeat for the Sons of Sceva becomes a victory for the name of Jesus. It’s an odd victory because the name of Jesus didn’t work for them. Yet, their defeat showed up the importance of Jesus name. Now all of Ephesus begins to convert, or at least a huge portion of them. And those who now come to believe give up their former practice of the magic arts. This would be things like exorcism, and divination, reading the Zodiac and other things. It wasn’t a cheap occupation. A person needed a fair amount of money for books, for training etc. Now they burn all their books. Fifty thousand pieces of silver go up in smoke. It is an incredible amount of money. But in all this the word of the Lord continues to grow, that is gains new converts. Sometimes it is in moments that look weak to the world in which God chooses to shame the strong.