Acts 19:15 But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?“
The seven sons of Sceva form a piece of the comic history of the church. They were the sons of a Jewish priest who branded themselves as exorcists. Having witnessed real power in the Ephesian revival (Acts 19), they added the name of Jesus to their bag of tricks. Only, they were a little shaky in the use of the name. They felt the need to shore it up with another name. “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches!” they told an evil spirit. There, that ought to do it.
Perhaps it is discomfiting to think that the devil knows your name. After all, that probably means you have caused him enough problems to merit some attention and his attentions are not a thing to be desired. But it is certainly discomfiting to realize that he doesn’t know your name. For those in league with him, it must come as a shock to realize how little he cares about you. But for these men who presumed they were his enemies, it was more than a shock. Acts 19:16 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.
Such folly often gains some honest laughter. But if ever there was a story to cure presumption and to banish forever any trace of a magical view of the use of Jesus’ name, this is it. The nails in evil’s coffin were driven at great cost. John 12:31-33 “Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.
Doctrinally sound, Word centered, Spirit empowered revival comes with a price tag. Paul knew the one who paid that price and followed after him with a whole heart. The seven of sons of Sceva never paid the price and they did not know the one who did. They were pretenders. If we will not pay the price of revival, then we must of necessity pay the price of not having it.
What a wonderful Savior he is!