True and False Exorcism (Pt 1): Acts 19:12-16
In Acts 19:12 we read that “evil spirits went out” as God worked through Paul. The next verses describe Jewish exorcists who attempted to invoke the name of the Jesus Paul preached. This failed miserably. Most of our time is spent putting this in the context of earlier incidents and predictions in Luke. In Luke 9 the disciples failed. The terminology in Luke 9:37 – 44 describes this event and is rich with Exodus allusions. On the mountain, Jesus was speaking with Moses and Elijah about His “exodus” which He was about to accomplish. The inability of the disciples to cast out the evil spirit has often been misinterpreted to mean that they needed to learn more. But Luke is showing that the issue is not a better technique but the fact that Jesus (the Son of Man) was going to be delivered into the hands of men (Luke 9:44). They did not understand this and began arguing about “which of them might be the greatest.” In Luke 9:51 the journey to Jerusalem to be rejected begins. In Part 2, we will look at other incidents in Luke and earlier in Acts to help us understand what true exorcism of demons means and how Luke contrasts the true and the false.