God bless you in the exalted name of Jesus Christ, who has been given all power in heaven and earth (Matthew 28:18).
We are working through Acts 19 and have come to verse 15 which deals with what the spirit within the man said.
And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know [ginōskō], and Paul I know [epistamai]; but who are ye?
This shows us that when an evil spirit possesses a man it may take control of the man’s body and mind and execute its will without the consent of the man. Evil spirits have intelligence and may speak and even converse using the organs of speech of the individual it possesses. In the gospels and the Book of Acts we find spirits using a person’s vocal apparatus to terrorize others, to blaspheme, to challenge, to make requests, to accuse, and to cry out.
Although evil spirits can never be trusted to always speak the truth, sometimes they cannot help but do so. Here in Acts 19 the spirit made a revealing statement. It said: “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?” The spirit did not recognize the seven sons of Sceva, who were trying to exercise authority over it, but it was very familiar with both Jesus and the apostle Paul.
In Luke 8:28 a spirit spoke to Jesus saying, “What have I to do with thee Jesus, thou Son of God most high?” The devil spirit recognized the authority of Jesus. In Acts 16:16-19 a spirit also recognized the authority of Paul and described him as a “servant of the most high God.” When we walk confidently in the spirit, they will recognize us, too. They know the One True God and those who work for him.
The words translated “know” in Acts 19:15 are two distinctly different words in the Greek text. In the phrase, “Jesus I know,” the word “know” is the Greek word ginōskō. Although ginōskō has a wide range of meanings, its fundamental meaning is to know by experience. It may be very likely that this spirit was cast out by Jesus previously. The experience this spirit had with Jesus was very profound and very memorable. It was something he would not soon forget. The Aramaic text makes the point even more strongly by using an extreme conjugation. (It is the same one that was used in the translation of “complete” in Colossians 2:10.) It could be translated “I know that I know that I absolutely know.” This spirit knew Jesus by experience. It comprehended with absolute certainty who Jesus was.
However, in the phrase, “Paul I know,” the word “know” is epistamai. It’s a compound of epi, “upon” and histēmi, to stand. When put together, this compound means to gain knowledge by prolonged acquaintance or sustained personal effort. Paul had captured the attention of the spirit world in Ephesus by his demonstration of spiritual power. This spirit was well aware of the impact Paul was having. Paul’s activities were a great threat to the devilish stronghold that Ephesus had become. The entire kingdom of darkness took notice of Paul’s authority over them in Jesus’ name. They were also aware of the impact his ministry was having on the heretofore devilish stronghold.
After this revealing statement, the evil spirit asked the seven sons of Sceva an interesting question: “But who are ye [2nd person plural indicating all 7 of the sons.]?” One would think that evil spirits would recognize exorcists who regularly delved into occult practices. However, the evil spirit in the man didn’t recognize these exorcists at all. In fact, it reacted strongly to their attempt to exercise authority they didn’t have.
This evil spirit knew Jesus and fully comprehend who he was with absolute certainty. It had also been acquainted with Paul over a prolonged period of time becoming familiar with him by carefully following and observing his activities. However, it had no idea who the seven sons of Sceva were, and it did not recognize them or their authority at all. Then the evil spirit unexpectedly seized the full use of the possessed man’s body to physically attack and injure them. Acts 19:16 tells us, “And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them. . . .”
One would think that demonic forces would recognize exorcists who regularly delved into occult practices; however, the evil spirit in the man didn’t recognize these exorcists at all. But oh, how amazing and magnificent it was that this spirit knew the both Jesus and Paul. Jesus was the son of the most high God and Paul was an authorized user of Jesus’ name!
We fit that description too! We are sons and daughters of God with all power, authorized users of the name of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit! James 2:19 says that demons “tremble” when they hear that name. They tremble because they are “terrified” when they hear the name of Jesus spoken with bold faith by an authorized user!
Since we have Christ in us and can manifest the power of the Holy Spirit, we have all the power we need to do what Jesus commanded in Mark 16:17. We are authorized to speak on behalf of Jesus and to take authority over any evil presence that comes your way. So, let’s walk in the steps of Jesus Christ and cast out devils! Why not? We’re God’s best and certainly God blessed.