The worldly perspective on Jesus and the devil is often viewed backward and upside down. I speak generally, because obviously many people do know the truth. But I want to shed light on a specific lie that God has highlighted in my heart. In the world today the devil is seen as someone powerful. The 'powerful ruler of the dark world'. Jesus in contrast, is seen by the world often as either a sweet little baby in a manger or as our hippie brother throwing peace signs and thumbs up to everyone. In the world, Satan amplifies his own forfeited importance and Jesus rests quietly on His proven strength and doesn't glorify His own identity, but reveals only the Father, God; Who, in turn, glorifies His Son above all.
John 12:27-28 - “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”
John 13:32 - If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.
Jesus in the moment of greatest trial in His life, spoke of His option. He could have chosen to say no way! But He said, "...'What shall I say? Father save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour." Wow. He exhibited exemplary bravery and strength in His moment of greatest dread. And He did so quietly and submissively. Quiet strength often makes the loudest noise. In Jesus’ case it made an eternal noise.
So let's get real about Satan. Satan is not the opposite of God. There is NO competition. God CREATED Satan. He is in no way equal in power to God. Above I said his “forfeited importance”. The Word shows us that God did create Satan with a role and place in the Heavens of high honor. He was called the seal of perfection! Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty! God created Lucifer with high praise and honor.
Ezekiel 28:12-18 - “… ’This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “ 'You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty…. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching.
Even the Archangel Michael would not rebuke Satan directly. He said rather, “the Lord rebuke you”.
Jude 1:9 - But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
He was honored by those who are under the Lord even after his fall. But Satan lost the place of authority when pride in him was discovered and he was driven out of Heaven.
Isaiah 14:12 - How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!
In our world today he still amplifies himself as though he held authority. That is a lie. He has been defeated. The war is over. He is now simply a pawn used by God to help us in our walk of life. That might sound absolutely crazy, but if (and only if) we are walking in righteousness with God, Satan's role in our life is to strengthen us. Satan has to ask God's permission before He does ANYTHING to us!
Job 1:12 - The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
Luke 22:31 - “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat.
Jesus made it clear that the enemy has been defeated. (The prince of this world in the following scripture is Satan.)
John 12:31 - Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.
Satan holds no power any longer. The only power he holds is the power that we allow him to have. But we have been given authority through Jesus to crush his head.
Genesis 3:15 - And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."
To an unsaved soul who isn't walking on the path of Salvation, Satan has more power because that person is defenseless to him. It is like the biggest bully on the playground picking fights with the weakest kids on the playground. Outside of God, we are more vulnerable to the enemy and he is a lot more experienced and a lot more cunning than we are. There is a line in the movie The Usual Suspects that is quite accurate. “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist.” We may believe that the devil exists; but he has cunningly lead us to believe that he is not dangerous. So many people don’t take the enemy seriously. I love Billy Joel's music. Seriously love it, but his song Only The Good Die Young is unfortunately a perfect representation of exactly what I am talking about. "They say there's a heaven for those who will wait. Some say it's better but I say it ain't. I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints. The sinners are much more fun." Great song. Treacherous message. Because of that, Satan makes himself seem harmless and actually creates the illusion that you are free if you are not bound by God! In that, he amplifies his perceived importance and power. He lures you in with candy and balloons. Satan wants us to believe that he the fun guy who got the short straw and is now the ruler in hell. He isn't. Hell is not Satan's kingdom even though somehow he has convinced the world that it is. Hell is his place of eternal punishment. This world right here that we live in was Satan's Kingdom after he was removed from Heaven, until Jesus claimed it back. Why do you think the demons fear Jesus?
Mark 1:24 - “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us?
Jude 1:12-13 - ... They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.
They know what is coming and that they will be isolated in the blackest darkness and eternally punished... so will anyone and everyone who didn't live their life for Jesus. Yes you read that right. That place is not just for Satan and his demons. It is also the inheritance of anyone who lives under Satan’s influence in this life.
I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said “straight but not narrow”. Haha. Funny play on words right? I have a sense of humor, and am quite lighthearted. but in thinking on this I realized how much the world boasts of itself and it's folly. How we disregard instruction of faith and call it foolishness. The world deems Biblical instruction as having a narrow mind; as being judgmental. And yes there are those who do abuse it. But those who are not following God love to use the example of those who abuse His word to support their case, but disregard those living in truth as being fools. It saddens me that they are not only on the path of destruction, but they don't even know it and they are actually fighting FOR their sins. What they don't realize is that not being narrow does come with a reward. It's reward is eternal torment and punishment. And likely the person who drives that car, who purchased that bumper sticker won't even know what hit them on the day of judgment. Sin may be fun now, but the bill is coming and everyone who has to pay that bill will realize the levity of things when it is too late.
Phillipians 2:10-11 - that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Jeremiah 17:13 - Lord, you are the hope of Israel; all who forsake you will be put to shame. Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the Lord, the spring of living water.
Now let's talk about the King. Jesus. When Jesus came the first time He came to destroy sin. When He comes again it will be to collect His people and destroy those still choosing sin. Hard words, but true words none-the-less.
Jeremiah 17:10 - “I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.”
Jesus saw what happened to us because of Satan. He saw that we were separated from God because of sin. Knowing this and knowing that none of us could ever make it back to God on our own, Jesus made the decision to leave His place in Heaven and come to make all things right Himself, in our place.
1 John 3:8 - The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work.
The wage for sin is death.
Romans 6:23 - For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We are not just talking about lethal injection and lights out. This will not be a quick punishment or slap on the knuckles. We are not talking about Rest In Peace or "pouring one out for our homies". We are talking about eternal awareness and consciousness in supreme suffering. Torment and suffering that will NEVER end.
Revelation 14:9-11 - If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.
Revelation 20:10, 14-15 - And the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. . . . Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
So Jesus, our Mighty King looked on us and said that wasn’t ok with Him that we should go down like that. He stepped up and said that HE would pay the price of that wrath so that we wouldn't have to. Not by changing the law of God, but by satisfying it Himself. Jesus accepted all the wrath of God to claim us back. Please just pause. Take a moment and really think about God's wrath. To even begin to put that into a SMALL perspective, let's think about this; He created everything in His power. He created the sun. We can’t even look at the sun from 93 million miles away without being blinded… Once you have really come to a place of complete reverence and fear of the amount of power and intensity of God, realize that His wrath is the absolute worst of His power, and that is what you will have to face after this life if you don't have Jesus saying "He is mine. She is mine. I paid for them." Jesus took on all of God's wrath FOR us. Everyone, everywhere, from the beginning of time to the end of time. Even if that person would never accept Him, He paid for them, just in case they would. Lives lived and lives yet to be lived. The most heinous and horrible, unimaginable sins that God had wrath to destroy, it all went to Jesus. Our brains literally can't comprehend the size and depth of what that means. But that is the brilliance of Jesus, He didn't say we had to understand. He just said, "Follow me."
Matthew 9:9 - As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector's booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.
That's all you have to do. Follow Him, do what He tells you to do and you are paid for. It is finished.
John 19:30 - When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
But He didn’t say, to just believe in Him. Even the demons believe in Him.
Mark 1:24 - “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are---the Holy One of God!”
He said to FOLLOW Him. Do what He teaches, learn to think like He thinks, begin to look like Him simply by being obedient and keeping your eyes set on Him, that your life is no longer lead by you, but by Him. That is what it means to follow Him.
Galatians 2:20 - I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
You don’t have to follow Him, it's not a requirement. You can laugh with the sinners or be straight but not narrow. But know this, if you don't want to follow, then you are choosing to pay for your sins on your own. The scariest 4 words ever spoken were by Jesus. “…I never knew you…”
Matthew 7:23 - Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'
He is not a tyrant King. He declared and waged war with a message of peace and love. He is strong, and sure, and confident, and all authority resides in Him.
Matthew 28:18 -Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
John 13:3 - Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God;
But He is KIND. He did what He did because of LOVE. And He is calling to us and asking us to share in His joy.
Hebrews 12:2 - ... For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
We sinned, He paid for it AND shared His inheritance with us…that is an unbalanced scale if there is ever a perfect example of one. But He is also fair and just, and to those who have dedicated their lives to Him, they will not be put to shame, by those who didn’t.
Matthew 25:46 - "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life. ”
Psalm 25:3 - No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.
This isn't a message of doom and gloom. This isn't a statement or position of judgment. This isn't a condemnation on anyone. This is not a “holier than thou” call from a Christian living in a bubble. This is a plea in the role call for salvation. A brother crying out to his siblings to be freed from lies and deceit. You are never too late to turn away from your sin unless you wait until death and none of us know how many of those days there are.
Love has a name. Victory has a name. Jesus is His name.
Jesus isn't a baby in a manger anymore. He is coming back as King.