Jesus I know and Paul I know about, but who are you? (Acts 19:15)
We’ve just come through another election season, in which candidates have courted celebrity endorsements from actors and athletes. The wager is that well-known names dropped on their behalf will offer a bump in the polls.
While Paul was preaching in Ephesus (in present day Turkey), some Jewish exorcists started a little name-dropping of their own. Though they were not believers in Christ, they started including his name in their exorcism litanies, thinking it would improve their success stats. In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out (v. 13).
The seven sons of a Jewish priest invoked the name of Jesus in one exorcism attempt. The spirit in question apparently had first-hand knowledge of Jesus and his power, and had even heard about the Apostle Paul, but he had no intention of releasing his hold on his victim. The man in which he was living attacked the seven men and gave them a sound thrashing before they ran into the street crying like little girls.
The name of Jesus is not a magic formula used to send demons packing or for getting answers to prayer. Jesus is the name above every name, and the name that will one day cause every knee to bow and every tongue to confess that he is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11).
What does the name Jesus mean to you?