15 But the evil spirit answered them,
“Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?
A fascinating passage. In my mind, Acts 19:11-20 is one of the more extraordinary passages in the entire book of Acts. It starts out by telling us that God was doing “extraordinary miracles” by the the hands of Paul. Healings and exorcisms are abounding, but so are some “copy-cat” exorcists who are trying to get rid of demons by telling them to leave by using Paul’s name as a name of power. Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva run into a demon possessed man and the demon within disobeys their commands and instead leaps upon them and masters them all. All of that is bizzare enough but it is what the demon says to them that has always intrigued me.
Before besting the sons of the Sceva, the demon says,
“Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?”
The implication is that there are some, like Jesus and Paul, who are famous in hell. They have power to command demons. But there are others, like the seven sons of Sceva, who are not known in hell. The sense is that Jesus and Paul are dangerous to the forces of hell but the sons of Sceva aren’t. They are powerless. Which leads me to the title of this post.
I want to known in hell. I want to be famous in hell.
I want to be dangerous on earth to the forces of hell at work in the earth. Being famous here in our time, in our geographical local is pointless and powerless in the eternal scheme of things. It is transient, unimportant, a distraction and probably dangerous to our own souls. But being famous in hell means we have real power in this world for the next world.
We should all aspire to be famous in hell, to be dangerous to the forces of darkness in the world. And, thanks to the triumph of our Lord’s resurrection, that aspiration is a real possibility for all of us. All we have to do is walk with God. Let’s do it. Let’s walk with God. Let’s commit ourselves to being everything that he wants us to be. Some months ago, a missionary shared in our church that he has learned to follow the three second rule. What is the three second rule, you ask? The three second rule is to do what you sense God calling you to do within the first three seconds of being prompted by his Spirit. Let’s do it. Let’s do it for our joy and the joy of the whole world and glory of our God.