We’re going through the New Testament trying to come to a deeper understanding of the doctrine of the Trinity. We’re in the book of Acts right now. Acts does have less in it in the way of doctrine and more on the history of the church, but the doctrine is still in there as we are seeing. Tonight, we’re going to be looking at Acts 19:13-17.
13Some 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.” 14Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15(One day) the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” 16Then 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.
17When 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.
What we have going on here is that Paul is in the city of Ephesus doing ministry and there are some Jewish boys there who are wanting to get in on the action and see Paul using the name of Jesus to exorcise demons. They decide that they’ll do the same thing only to find that they have no authority to do such.
Note that demons are bowing to the name of Jesus recognizing him as the authority. This is all throughout the gospels as well as the demons constantly recognize Jesus as the holy one of God and believe when they see him that their judgment has come upon them.
This should also be a warning to us about those who seek power. There are many supposed miracle workers in the church today. (Many of them I’d actually say are outside the realm of orthodoxy.) Too many sincere Christians are taken in because they have not been trained. How many people might have been taken in by exorcists just because they saw signs?
Fortunately, the people of Ephesus saw the results and it actually made them respect the name of Jesus. It was seen as one to not take lightly. The demon did not deny knowing Jesus and he even stated that he recognized Paul. He thought his exorcists were not worth mentioning however and as much as we are against demonic activity, one can’t help but read this story and think about what it would have been like for these pseudo-exorcists to get pummeled by this one guy.
Let’s notice the main part at the end of this chapter however. The name of Jesus was held in high honor. This again is where I see the casualness of who Jesus is mentioned. There seems to be no need to explain who Jesus is or why his name is held in honor. It’s mentioned in a matter-of-fact way.
It is not YHWH. It is Jesus. The conclusion to be drawn? There was already a high Christology at the time of the writing of the book of Acts. (Which I date to around 62 A.D.) in which Jesus was seen as equal with YHWH in ontology.
We shall continue this tomorrow.