December 26, 2011
STRIPPING THE FOE
“He likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy (render powerless),him that had the power of death, that is the devil.”
The battle was relentless and persistent. As far back as millennia before Christ came, Satan was determined to hinder His coming. Amidst the brick kilns of Egypt, he inspired Pharaoh to destroy all the males. In the days of Athaliah, he instigated her to cut off the kingly line. Babylon was employed to enslave, dilute, and terminate the line.
At His coming, Christ faced the threat of Herod’s henchmen. In Nazareth, the brow of a hill was the designated spot where Satan would have Him destroyed. He tried to discredit Him in the wilderness, but failed. Men took up stones to stone Him in Jerusalem but did not succeed.
Finally, the culminating battle was at Golgotha. Jew and Gentile were gathered to not only impale the Lord Jesus to a tree, but also to mock and taunt Him. As great as that was, there was another force at work – a force unseen but palpable and real to the Savior. All the forces of hell were amassed at Calvary for one final attack on their hated Foe.
Satan knew that one reason the Lord Jesus Christ had been manifested was “that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8). But beyond even that, He came to defeat and disarm Satan. Satan’s weaponry was in the sphere of death. It may be that the “fear of death” and the relative uncertainty as to eternal things, led people to the bondage of self-centered living to preserve themselves.
But Christ defeated Satan and stripped him of his very weapon – death. He did it by dying. “He death by dying slew.” Satan thought that in the death of Christ he had defeated God and Christ. But in Satan’s triumph was his defeat! Reminiscent of David walking into the valley of Elah and using Goliath’s sword to slay Goliath, the Savior used death to render the devil powerless.
1. Think of the paradoxes of Calvary: by weakness He did the mightiest work. By being judged as folly, the wisdom of God is displayed. By death, He defeated death. Add to the list.
2. Make other links with the story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17.
3. Trace the multiple steps in Satan’s downfall from his fall from heaven, to his ultimate banishment in Revelation 20:10.