Answered Prayers continued...
There is always an implied danger in using someone’s name and projecting a certain intimacy or knowledge of the individual with which you are not truly accustomed. There are even examples in the word of God, wherein men took it upon themselves to approach others on behalf of a third party, using their name, their clout, their reputation for their own nefarious purposes, and being punished severely for their dereliction.
There are two examples which spring to mind, one from the Old Testament, and one from the New Testament, both having to do with the consequences of assuming the use of an individual’s name or reputation without their approval or blessing. Since time is a commodity we all treasure, I will focus only on the example in the New Testament since it is by far the more entertaining of the two, and highlights the point I’m trying to make quite clearly.
Why is this relevant? It is relevant because we must understand, and vividly so the stark difference between speaking the name Jesus, and knowing the Person Jesus. Anyone can speak the name Jesus, but far too few of those who speak the name Jesus know the Person Jesus, and as such are able to walk in His authority.
During the time of the apostles, as God was working unusual miracles through them all, including by the hands of Paul, a group of itinerant Jewish exorcists, took it upon themselves to call on the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits.
No, I’m not making this up. This really happened, and it’s really in the Bible. I smiled when I read ‘itinerant Jewish exorcists’ for the first time some years ago, and my smile only broadened as Luke related the story of what happened with these exorcists who took it upon themselves to call on the name of the Lord, whom they did not know.
Acts 19:13-16, “Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, ‘We adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.’ Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you? Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped upon them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.”
‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?’ I’m thinking when the seven sons of Sceva heard that particular question they realized it wasn’t enough to attempt and adjure an evil spirit in the name of Jesus whom you know only as the One who Paul preaches.
These men did not know the Person of Jesus, they did not believe in the authority of Jesus, they did not believe in the divinity of Jesus. They saw that God worked miracles at the hands of Paul, and decided it couldn’t hurt if they tried casting out demons in the name of this Jesus Paul kept preaching about as well.
So what became of these seven brave souls who assumed to use the name of Jesus without really knowing Him? Because these men did not know Jesus, they had no authority. Because they had no authority, the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped upon them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
In modern parlance, the demonized man beat the stuffing of them, to the point that they ran out of the house bleeding and naked.
Don’t assume authority when you have no authority! Don’t presume to use the name of Jesus when you don’t really know Jesus, when you don’t really follow after Jesus, and when you don’t obey Jesus. It won’t end well, and chances are it will end as badly for you as it did for the sons of Sceva.
I can only imagine how these seven brothers psyched themselves up before they went into the house where the possessed man lived. I can only imagine how they talked themselves into believing that even if using the name ‘Jesus’ didn’t really work, the odds were in their favor, and if push came to shove, seven to one were unbeatable odds.
Know Jesus, serve Jesus, obey Jesus, and worship Jesus, so you might know your prayers will be answered when you pray in His name. It’s already too late to wonder if you really know Jesus when you’re locked in a house with one in whom is an evil spirit. It’s already too late to wonder if Jesus will answer your prayers when you really need Him, because you haven’t spoken in so long, and it’s been ages since you were last on your knees, in your prayer closet, pouring your heart out to God.
I find it odd that though the sons of Sceva did not know Jesus, they were quick to use His name hoping to adjure the evil spirit, yet those who claim to know Him somehow feel ashamed or put out for having to use His name or testify of Him.
Romans 15:17-19, “Therefore I have reason to glory in Christ Jesus in the things which pertain to God. For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient – in mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and round about to Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.”
Here was a man in whom there was no shame of Christ or the cross of Christ. Paul gloried in Christ Jesus, and the things which pertained to God, for He knew where hope, peace, joy, salvation and reconciliation with God the Father come from.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.