Acts 19:11–20 (ESV)
The Sons of Sceva
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. 17 And this became known to all the residents of
Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled. 18 Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. 19 And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought
their books together and burned them in the sight of all. And they counted the value of them and found it came to fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20 So the word of the Lord continued to increase and prevail mightily.
There are a lot of people who want to “play” church or take on Satan without a clue on who they are dealing with. Christiananity is not some cutsie put-on that we do on Sunday and act all cheery, huggie, and full of love. It
is a way of life. We must have proper respect for God. But we too should have a respect for Satan. Don’t get me wrong... we do not worship Satan, but he is not someone to mess around with. Look at what Satan did to Job...
don’t say that he doesn’t have powers and Job was a faithful man. A person may be a “horse whisperer”, but I would think twice down south about going and whispering to an alligator. An alligator is not a horse. Satan
is not a man... he is a fallen angel. These seven sons of Sceva want to play church and take on an man with an evil spirit. They quickly learned that they were way in over their head. I do believe in Satan, but he is NOT my Lord and Savior.
He is the enemy. I actually do believe in exorcisms, but it is not something you jump into with pom-poms and cheers. It takes a lot of prayer and a lot of preparation. The Apostles learned this too. The people in today’s reading
learned it as well. They were believers, but they had not given up all the magic arts they practiced. The gathered their books and burned them. God is bigger than Satan. We have a lot of Christians today that like to go to fortune tellers,
play with tarot cards, read horoscopes, play with Ouija boards, attend seances, dabble in dark magic. We need to remember that God is the creator of the world and he created all things. He even is the creator of angels... including Satan.
God is God! And he is the judge. The First Commandment is “You shall have no other gods.”
I pray: O Lord, I pray for my own congregation and for all Christians to stop dabbling
with evil spirit, to turn to the Lord and to have no other gods. Help us to live our faith and to walk according to your Word. Help us to live in our baptism and your forgiveness. Amen.