Now I said that the strongholds of darkness in Ephesus was beginning crumble and the first sign was the attempt on the part of the powers of darkness to make an alliance with the Christian cause. As we have seen before, this is often Satan’s favorite trick. He tries to join the team:
“But seven itinerant Jewish exorcists tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were possessed by evil spirits, saying, ‘I sternly warn you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.’ (Now these were sons of a man named Sceva, a Jewish high priest, were doing this). But the evil spirit replied to them, ‘I know about Jesus and I am acquainted with Paul, but who are you?’ Then the man who was possessed by the evil spirit jumped on them and beat them all into submission. He prevailed against them so that they fled from that house naked and wounded. This became known to all who lived in Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks; fear came over them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was praised” —Acts 19:13-17
I love reading this part of the story! These seven guys knew a good thing when they saw it. They were sons of a Jewish high priest, and they recognized that here was an opportunity to use religion, and the interest in religion, to advance their own cause. So they attempted to jump on the bandwagon and using these two names as though they were some kind of magic formula, they tried to cast out evil spirits by saying, “I curse you in the name of Jesus that Paul preaches . . .”
Man, we have these kinds of guys around today: you will see them on TV or hear them on the radio. They are trying to use what they see others doing and see how popular it makes them and figure they can make a few bucks on it.
But what happened is quite funny, actually. These guys come up and try to cast the spirits out by using “the” names they heard and the evil spirits answer them: “Well, we know who Jesus is and we know who Paul is . . . but who are you? That is so cool! I bet they do know who Jesus is. They thought they had Him whipped him when he died on the cross—but then he meets them in their domain and “stripped the principalities and the powers and made a show of them openly, triumphing over them!” But the amazing thing is that they know who Paul is! How about you? When you wake up each morning do the demons in hell shudder in fear? They should.
Now you can almost see them tumbling out the doors and windows with their clothes torn half off, bloody and wounded, as this man drove them out of the house? It would be funny if it wasn’t to sad.
The evil spirit was angered by this use of the name of Jesus—now remember, when others were healed or delivered, we were told that the miracle happened because of the name of Jesus . . . and faith in that name. It had nothing to do with Peter, John, Paul, George or Ringo or any other person—it was the name of Jesus and faith in that name.
You may not have caught this, but most translations miss it a bit. There are two words which he used for “know.” He said, “Jesus I know . . .” (using a word that means, “I know him with a deep, instinctive, innate knowledge”), “and Paul I am acquainted with . . .” i.e., I know his name, I know who he is. I don’t know him as well as I know Jesus, but I am acquainted with him. “. . . but who are you?”
The devil hears the name of Jesus and shutters—but wouldn’t it also be great if when he heard your name and responded that same way? “Yeah, I know Jesus real well, and “________” (insert your name) I know pretty good too. That was the signal for his attack on the seven sons and their ridiculous exodus out the doors and windows. This incident, no doubt because of the humor involved, became known all over Ephesus and both Jews and Greeks heard about it. It was impressive. And the result was that the name of Jesus was magnified. It took on impressive stature in the sight of these people of Ephesus because here was a name of power—power in the realm of the invisible world.
So they try to cast the demons out, but the man with the evil spirits jumps on them and beats them “into submission.” I’m sorry. I probably shouldn’t be laughing about that, wouldn’t it be so much better if they had actually met this Jesus they were trying to market? What if they had actually ministered under the anointing and authority of Jesus? Instead of getting the snot knocked out them—the man with the demons would stand liberated and whole!
(I send out messages like this to about 70 people each morning. If you are interested, let me know. However, you can also find these messages at: Thought For The Day)