Who are you? Is a question of introduction asked by those who are not familiar with you. Rarely does God ask who we are because ‘What we are is plain to God’ (2 Corinthians 5:11). In fact, God calls us by name because ‘The Lord knows those who are his’ (2 Timothy 2:19). Although all of us ‘are his offspring’ (Acts 17:28), some alienate themselves from God by persisting in unbelief, or failing to increase their knowledge of Him. Once we alienate ourselves from the ‘True Vine’ (John 15:1), we are rootless- we neither belong here nor there. We come to a place whereby we do not know ourselves, and so our identity is marred. ‘Having a form of godliness but denying its power’ (2 Timothy 3:5) is a dangerous zone one can find themselves in, because it is either one believes and knows God, or doesn’t- there is no middle ground. Some seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish Priest, went ‘around driving evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who are demon possessed’ (Acts 19:13). ‘One day, the evil spirit answered them;
‘Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?’
In as much I found this comical, it was not funny for the sons of Sceva who were asked this because ‘the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding’ (v16). This is because the seven sons of Sceva did not know ‘the Lord and the power of his might’ (Ephesians 6:10), and so while casting out the demon, they would say, ‘In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out’ (v13). Already, they were doomed for destruction because they did not know the power of Jesus Christ, nor appropriated it. They were second-hand receivers of Jesus’s power and had no experience of walking with Him side by side. Therefore, they invoked the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches, and not whom they actually believed in. For if they did, then they would know that the name of Jesus requires no backing for ‘He is before all things, and by him all things consist’ (Colossians 1:17). The name of Jesus is ‘above every name’ (Philippians 2:9) and so it does not matter who preaches it, be it Paul or anyone else. And when we invoke the name of Jesus, all other personalities should be, and become shadows in His glorious and magnificent light. This however requires a total belief in Jesus.
The Lord knows them that are His. And the devil knows those who belong to God. As Believers in Christ, we are given the opportunity and privilege to ‘serve him shoulder to shoulder’ (Zephaniah 3:9). Jesus Himself says, ‘A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master’ (Matthew 10:24-25). When Jesus our Rabbi, our Teacher, teaches us His ways, then He qualifies us to serve Him shoulder to shoulder. In other words, we serve alongside Him and become like Him- we do not an any point become greater than Him for Jesus says, ‘All things have been committed to me by my Father’ (11:v27). A Believer who knows Jesus and the power He bestows upon them is also known by the devil by the merit of Jesus, and thus the evil spirit said ‘I know about Paul’.
‘Jesus I know’, said the evil spirit. The devil clearly knows who Jesus is. So when Jesus set foot on earth, many did not recognize His ‘fullness of Deity’ (Colossians 2:9). It is actually the devil who even recognised Him first. So when two demon possessed men met with Jesus near the tombs, they asked, ‘What do you want with us Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?’ (Matthew 8:29). In another instance, an evil spirit speaking through a man it possessed remarked to Jesus, ‘I know you who you are- the Holy One of God’ (Luke 4:34). While most were doubting, and some even mocking Jesus, the devil knew who He was without even being told. The devil even recognizes the power and authority of Jesus, and knows that at his appointed time, Jesus ‘will soon crush Satan under your feet’ (Romans 16:20).
Those who refuse to come to the light of Christ and instead choose Satan’s gloom and doom, will eventually be denied even by the father of lies himself who will ask, but who are you?. ‘And the devil, who deceived them was thrown into the lake of burning sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever’ (Revelation 20:10). Jesus warns, ‘Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven’ (Matthew 10:32-33). Those who continually refuse to believe in Jesus and even antagonize Him are left to their devices. Jesus says of them, ‘You belong to your father the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning not holding the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!’ (John 8:44-45).
Demons tremble at Jesus’s presence and so when Jesus rebuked a deaf and mute spirit out of a boy, ‘the spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out’ (Mark 9:26). In another instance, when an evil spirit saw Jesus, it said, ‘Swear to God that you won’t torture me!’ (5:v7). Clearly, the devil is under God’s radar and so cannot harm God’s Children without His consent. In fact, Believers have been given ‘authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy, nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven’ (Luke 10:19-20). So those who claim to believe in Jesus need to ‘leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity’ (Hebrews 6:1) in order to overcome all the power of the enemy. When the people at Ephesus saw and heard what the evil spirit said about Jesus and Paul, and what it did to the imposters, ‘they were seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honour. Many of those wo believed now came and openly confessed their evil deeds. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly’ (Acts 19:17-19). This is all because Paul and the other Apostles knew who they were in Christ, and His power. Do you?
‘You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that and shudder’ ~ James 2:19
‘Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father’ ~ Philippians 2:9-11