BIBLE READING: ACTS 19
13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.
14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.
15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?
16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
The name “Sceva” means “left handed”. We don’t know much about this man. We know he was left-handed, and we know that he was a chief priest and had seven sons. The Bible says these sons were “exorcists”. This means they were men who tried to conjure up spirits, evil spirits. They sometimes would claim the spirits to be religious spirits, but they were evil. Now these men were vagabonds. This means that they wandered around, always on the move. It means that they would claim to be able to do things and then when people figured out that they often could not do what they claimed, they would move on. Anytime a person or preacher tries to take credit for something, claim to have miraculous ability, or pretend to be something they are not, they will always have to keep on the move. They are rarely stable and able to minister long in one place. Literally, people figure them out.
While God was doing great things through the life of Paul and his disciples, many of these fake men saw an opportunity to profit. People were showing up in throngs to watch and witness the power of Paul and the disciples. These men figured that if they could do some of those miracles, then people would worship them. So, they claimed the name of Jesus and began to call out to demons in the name of Jesus to have power over them. One of my favorite verses in the Bible was the response of this demon:
* “15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?”
You can fool people, but you cannot fool God, and you cannot fool Satan or his helpers. The evil spirit got so angry that he jumped on those seven sons of Sceva, gave them an old-fashioned beating, and the Bible says they ran out of the house naked and wounded. Boy did they make a mistake that day. You can only go so long faking it as a Christian. “Be sure”, the Bible says, “your sin will find you out”. The kind of power that Paul had only comes from a real, intimate, sincere, sacrificial walk with a Holy God. Do you have enough power with God that the demons know you?