And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. 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. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? 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. 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. And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.
It is God’s right to do miracles when and how He chooses. We see many miracles today and our human nature tends to explain them away with medical science, financial risks, and/or special circumstances instead of giving God the complete glory. God uses all of these things for His perfect plan in our lives, but He is blessed when His children realize the gifts and miracles He gives them.
God decided to show His glory through Paul in a special way. Perhaps it was His way of showing the Jews that Paul was truly preaching the truth of the Holy Spirit, and God’s will of including the Gentiles (I Corinthians 1:22 “For the Jews require a sign”) to also have the opportunity of salvation. People with diseases and evil spirits were being healed when pieces of cloth owned by Paul was brought to them.
Scholars disagree as to who Sceva is: some say he was an evil high priest, some say he was a fictional character because there is no account of him in Jewish history, some say he was a high priest whose sons became reprobate. Anyway, seven of them, claiming to be a high priest’s sons, decided to see if they could perform miraculous healings like Paul did and tried to do a copycat ministry no doubt for their own profit. When they tried to cast out a demon out of a man, the whole plan backfired. They heard the words, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” before the demon attacked them and stripped them of their clothes hurting them and humiliating them. And word spread faster than social media. Jesus Christ was magnified, and many believed on Him. Another result was the gathering and burning of mystical arts and sorcery books. God’s Word grew in power and in might.
We see a scary example of what happens when someone tries to fake the work of God. It is a dangerous thing to present yourself as a minister of God’s grace when selfish motives are behind it. Yes, God wants to use us, and He wants us to be dependent on His power, not our own. He will reveal the fake in His own time and own way. He will also reveal to us our own motives. Who do you magnify? Only Christ is to be magnified!
Written by Kaye Dee Richards. Kaye Dee lives with her husband Colin in Morrison, CO. They have 4 children, Joshua, Amelia, Victoria, and Julia.
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