Acts 18:19-19:41: Do the Demons Know Your Name?

Acts 19:11-16:

11 And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them. 13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke 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 answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” 16 And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

This is on my top ten favorite crazy Bible stories. It’s at the same time ridiculously funny and seriously scary.

I think the reasons why it is funny are pretty apparent. Just imagine the scene: seven guys roll in to exorcise one demon from one guy and that one guy ends up pulling a Jackie Chan on them and sending them out of the house crying and naked and beaten.

But it’s scary for the same reasons. And it’s especially scary because of what the demon says to the Sons od Sceva through this tortured man: Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?

Here’s where the title comes into play. Demons are more perceptive and more intelligent than we are. Far more. So it’s likely that this particular demon knew exactly who these guys were. But he didn’t know them in the most important way. He didn’t know them as having been raised and seated with Christ, far above all earthly and heavenly powers. This is the state of every Christian, possessing more spiritual power than angels and demons.

So for this demon not to know these men means that he didn’t answer to them, in fact, they answered to him, for without Christ, everyone is subject to the powers allowed to rule the earth, the powers of evil.

This may seem too fantastical or completely ridiculous, but it is the truth. If we do not claim Christ as our King, then we do not share in His mighty power of heaven and earth, and we are therefore subject to the evil that permeates every area of creation.

In other words, if we are without Christ, we live as slaves to sin and death. This was the state of these men, as evidenced by their lack of spiritual power. But with Christ, we have been given the keys to the Kingdom, the blessings of heavenly royalty, and everything that goes with it.

So, do the demons know your name? Are they subject to you because your are subject to Christ alone. I pray this is true for me and for you, and more importantly, I pray that our names are written in the book of life forever. I rejoice in this reality. This is what Jesus calls us to:

Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.

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