11 God did amazing miracles through Paul. 12 Even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to those who were sick. When this happened, their sicknesses were healed and evil spirits left them. 13 Some Jews went around driving out evil spirits. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus to set free those who were controlled by demons. They said, “In Jesus’ name I command you to come out. He is the Jesus that Paul is preaching about.” 14 Seven sons of Sceva were doing this. Sceva was a Jewish chief priest. 15 One day the evil spirit answered them, “I know Jesus. And I know about Paul. But who are you?” 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on Sceva’s sons. He overpowered them all. He gave them a terrible beating. They ran out of the house naked and bleeding. 17 The Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus heard about this. They were all overcome with fear. They held the name of the Lord Jesus in high honor. 18 Many who believed now came and openly admitted what they had done. 19 A number of those who had practiced evil magic brought their scrolls together. They set them on fire out in the open. They added up the value of the scrolls. The scrolls were worth more than someone could earn in two lifetimes. 20 The word of the Lord spread everywhere. It became more and more powerful.
I would not have thought that a handkerchief would have any part to play in healing someone. But God uses it to do what even Luke says is a very unusual miracle. He can and does do the most remarkable things.
The sons of Sceva copy what they expected would work to cast out an evil spirit, what they have either seen or heard worked when Paul did it, but it has quite the reverse effect. They are lucky to escape with their lives. Doing the actions of a Godly man separately from God is doomed to failure.
The testimony of a violent and evil spirit about Jesus and Paul has such an effect on Ephesus that Jesus is honoured and sorcerers repent. I would not have expected that.
It’s true: God does cause “everything work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His name” Romans 8:28. God is so much bigger than my imagination.
Father, open my mind to see and be part of what you’re doing, and give me the discernment to leave behind the things that you’re not part of.
Written by David Cornell