So, I come with this post today to pose an important question…Do YOU Know HIM? I pose the question because I was recently watching this tele-evangelist who encouraged viewers to call in to receive a green prosperity prayer cloth and he directed those who were ‘skeptical’ of his biblical basis to Acts 19, where he referred to Paul using prayer cloths…So, I went to read Acts 19!
Acts 19 (New Revised Standard)
1 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the interior regions and came to Ephesus, where he found some disciples. 2 He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” They replied, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 Then he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They answered, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied— 7 altogether there were about twelve of them. 8 He entered the synagogue and for three months spoke out boldly, and argued persuasively about the kingdom of God. 9 When some stubbornly refused to believe and spoke evil of the Way before the congregation, he left them, taking the disciples with him, and argued daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.
10 This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the word of the Lord. 11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that when the handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were brought to the sick, their diseases left them, and the evil spirits came out of them. 13 Then some itinerant Jewish exorcists tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” 14 Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15 But the evil spirit said to them in reply, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” 16 Then the man with the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered them all, and so overpowered them that they fled out of the house naked and wounded. 17 When this became known to all residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks, everyone was awestruck; and the name of the Lord Jesus was praised. 18 Also many of those who became believers confessed and disclosed their practices. 19 A number of those who practiced magic collected their books and burned them publicly; when the value of these books
was calculated, it was found to come to fifty thousand silver coins. 20 So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed. 21 Now after these things had been accomplished, Paul resolved in the Spirit to go through Macedonia and Achaia, and then to go on to Jerusalem. He said, “After I have gone there, I must also see Rome.” 22 So he sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he himself stayed for some time longer in Asia. 23 About that time no little disturbance broke out concerning the Way. 24 A man named Demetrius, a silversmith who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the artisans. 25 These he gathered together, with the workers of the same trade, and said, “Men, you know that we get our wealth from this business. 26 You also see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost the whole of Asia this Paul has persuaded and drawn away a considerable number of people by saying that gods made with hands are not gods. 27 And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis will be scorned, and she will be deprived of her majesty that brought all Asia and the world to worship her.” 28 When they heard this, they were enraged and shouted, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 29 The city was filled with the confusion; and people
rushed together to the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s travel companions. 30 Paul wished to go into the crowd, but the disciples would not let him; 31 even some officials of the province of Asia,
who were friendly to him, sent him a message urging him not to venture into the theater. 32 Meanwhile, some were shouting one thing, some another; for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together. 33 Some of the crowd gave instructions to Alexander, whom the Jews had pushed forward. And Alexander motioned for silence and tried to make a defense before the people. 34 But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two hours all of them shouted in unison, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” 35 But when the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, “Citizens of Ephesus, who is there that does not know that the city of the Ephesians is the temple keeper of the great Artemis and of the statue that fell from heaven?
36 Since these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. 37 You have brought these men here who are neither temple robbers nor blasphemers of our
goddess. 38 If therefore Demetrius and the artisans with him have a complaint against anyone, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls; let them bring charges there against one another. 39 If there is anything further
you want to know, it must be settled in the regular assembly. 40 For we are in danger of being charged with rioting today, since there is no cause that we can give to justify this commotion.” 41 When he had said this, he dismissed the assembly.
I didn’t read anything about ‘green’ or ‘prosperity’ but I did read that, “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul” (Acts 19:11 NRSV). Anyway, I really enjoyed this chapter in Acts, specifically because it speaks of the sons of Sceva, check out verses 11-20!
Verse 13 – READ IT! It speaks of some sort of Jewish authority, named as “itinerant Jewish exorcists”. I find this verse so interesting because the verse goes on to say that these leaders, “…tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits…” TRIED?! Tried, simply means a failed attempt. Have you been trying to do some things, go some places, hang with some people, etc. that just aren’t working for you? Leave all of it at ‘tried’ and execute something different to see if that will work. I would recommend that you abort trying and adopt knowing. Do YOU Know HIM?!
Verse 13 continues, “…saying, ‘I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” And verse 14 states, “Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this.”
–verb (used with object), -jured, -jur·ing.
to charge, bind, or command earnestly and solemnly, often under oath or the
threat of a penalty.
These itinerant Jewish exorcists wanted the evil spirits to come out of those who were possessed in their own ‘authority’ and adjures the evil spirit by “the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” The language used here suggests that these exorcists didn’t know Jesus. How so? They speak in their own authority by adjuring the spirit but why, “by the Jesus” and not just ‘by Jesus’? It’s simple, they didn’t know HIM – “whom Paul proclaims.” Be careful of using anything and/or anyone whom someone else proclaims because just because it works for them it doesn’t mean that your using of it will work. What or who have you come to know by never meeting it/(s)he? I think that you need to become familiar with…
How do you adjust to what is foreign as that which is familiar? Ask the one who proclaims…Ask someone who knows…until you come to know FOR yourself! And of course, I have to pose the question-why are there seven sons “‘doing'” this? I’ve heard that there is numerical significance used throughout the bible and that the number seven represents completion. If you care to access this passage of scripture with this in mind, what does this now mean? It means that religiosity (seven sons ‘doing’; they know religion because they were the sons of a high priest) doesn’t substitute for relationship (knowing, interacting, entering into familiarity) with Christ. Even in the seven standing together in agreement…The bible says, “19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:19-20 NIV)
Matthew’s gospel conveys that ‘where two or three gather…’ in His name! I find it concerning that some who use this verse in order to legitimate their gathering, together, before God forget that their gathering needs to be IN God. This ‘in’ means with/in relationship/inclusion. God has to be among them; otherwise, their asking will be in vain. These seven didn’t ask for anything. They weren’t ‘in [His] name’. However, they assumed that the authority they had as sons of Sceva would be enough for the evil spirit to obey.
Verse 15 declares, “But the evil spirit said to them in reply, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” Wow! I’m just thinking…The gospel of Mark shares instances where evil spirits identify Jesus and He tells them to keep quiet about who He is….and I often wondered why until now…(perhaps wishful thinking) the spirit may have been evil but it was still spirit. The evil spirit spoke of KNOWING the spirit of which the Sons of Sceva spoke. The evil spirit said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?” Spirit can discern spirit and flesh…spirit knows spirit and recognizes what isn’t spirit. The Sons of Sceva were attempting to use the name of the One spirit without being in relationship/in spirit. These seven sons were operating out of their flesh and even the evil spirit couldn’t find familiarity with their flesh (things that make you go ‘Hmmm…’).
The rest of the verses, through verse 20, goes on to tell how the knowing of His name grew and was praised. The evil spirit that the Sons of Sceva adjured, overtook them and chased them out of the place where they were. Once this became known among others, ‘everyone was awestruck’. Verse 20, “So the word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.”
Do you KNOW Him???