October 20, 2010

Nameless But Notable IV: Busted

"God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them. Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, "In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out." Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. (One day) the evil spirit answered them, "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding. When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas." ~Acts 19:11-19

Here we have Sceva the Jewish High Priest and his seven sons who were nothing more than hucksters. How they were related to the Sadducean Party or if they were is unclear. What is clear is they were not followers of the Lord Jesus Christ based solely on their conduct. They were "going around" with a group of Jewish exorcists more than likely preying on peoples weaknesses for profit or notoriety (or both). Seeing the miracles Paul was performing in the name of Christ, they probably figured, they could too. This also indicates that their own form of necromancy or sorcery was clearly a failure. Dopes. Even WITH Jesus' name they still couldn't get it right.

We now reach the crux of the issue at this point. Paul was casting out evil spirits to the glory of God, his motives were righteous. These seven knuckleheads had other dubious motives. They were trying to manipulate evil spirits with Jesus' name but for shameful or questionable motives. Their interests in performing these miracles was not to heal or move the Kingdom into the limelight but rather to perform their own scamboogery and goofy antics (probably for profit and self-gain). They saw it work for a Roman plebeian like Paul, it most certainly should work for them too, right?

Wrong. Busted.

They approach a demon-possessed man and proclaim, "In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out." It appears that they picked a person possessed by an evil spirit with a "chip in his shoulder" and was having none of this mamby-pamby hammerheaded nonsense. "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" The man possessed by this evil spirit proceeds to jump them and pretty much hands their pride back to them on a silver platter. I can see it in my mind now...seven opportunistic hacks sprinting out of a house screaming with a notable shortage in the apparel department. Talk about a wardrobe malfunction.

Even though these men lost their dignity and their clothes they offer us a silent piece of advice. There are many not in a right relationship with our Savior Jesus Christ and it was evident in the case of these seven. We see it nowadays also in those fiercely independent types that claim they are getting by and thriving with no help from the Lord or very little. They totally fail to understand that the reason they even exist and breath is only because of the power of God's Word (Heb 1:3). Just because they haven't had their pride and arrogance handed back to them yet like this misfortunate and bumbling crew doesn't mean it won't happen. God does things and allows things in His own time. What everyone can be assured of is: If you have it coming to you...you're gonna get it. Good or bad. God is perfectly just and we should expect nothing less. Often, punishment and rebuke is not even waiting around a corner to pounce on us as God is abundantly patient and could, and often does try to work us through the rough patches in our life. He is just but He is also merciful and full of grace.

The beauty of this story is these hucksters got what they had coming to them. God in His omnipotence can work concurrently through evil & evil spirits to benefit of all involved (Gen 50:20). It is the beauty and irony of poetic justice. Being rightfully punished in turn by the same unrighteousness that you are guilty of. Its like a thief breaking into a house only to find out he forgot to turn of the ringer on his cell phone. Priceless.


Silly Goose said...

You've got quite a collection of great info on here!

Andy Pierson said...

Thanks. It is for edification of the body. My primary purpose is to glorify God. I cannot take credit for this stuff but rather Christ who works in me. :P

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