When the Apostle Paul came to Ephesus God worked unusual miracles by his hands. The scripture says that handkerchiefs and aprons that touched Paul were used to heal the sick, and chase out disease and evil spirits from the people. Witnessing this, exorcists tried using the name of Jesus to expel evil spirits. Among them were the seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish priest. (See vs. 11-14) That led to verse 15 above and what immediately happened afterward. “Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.” (vs. 16-17)
This portion of scripture has been used by some modern day hucksters to make a living peddling magic handkerchiefs and the like to the deceived and gullible. A much better use might be to demonstrate that the Lord and the apostles alone have and had the power and authority to send demons packing. We have certainly seen other “sons of Sceva” throughout church history and their claims of success are at least suspect. Others have noted the question asked by the evil spirit – “who are you?” Jesus we know because He is the Lord of all; Paul we know because he was a chosen and prepared vessel to “turn the world upside down” for Christ (Acts 17:6). And you? Me? We may only use handkerchiefs to wipe our brows or nose, but is our presence in our world displacing evil? Are we having the kind of impact on our world that we too are known to be of Christ; to be in Christ? Is the name of the Lord Jesus magnified by our life?