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God is my Banner (Jehovah Nissi)

(73)

Sermon shared by Brian Bill

March 2005
Summary: The name we are focusing on today is Jehovah Nissi, which means, “God is my Banner.”
Denomination: Baptist
Audience: General adults
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eternal life. Since they often grew out in the desert near water, palm trees were a sign that life-giving activity was near. By laying palm branches on the road, the people were signifying that Jesus was the victorious King who gives eternal life to those out wandering in the desert of life.
The Cross. On Friday we remember that Jesus was nailed to a wooden rod and that He died in our place. One of the most famous banners in the Old Testament is found in Numbers 21. Once again the people are complaining and grumbling but this time they face another danger when poisonous snakes begin to bite them and they start to die. After confessing their sin to Moses, the Lord told Moses to make a “fiery serpent” and put it on a pole. Whoever looked at this “banner” would live. Jesus picks up on this picture in John 3 when Nicodemus begins to ask questions about how to enter the kingdom of God. Jesus tells him that he must be “born again” and then in order to drive home the point, Jesus references this event in verses 14-15: “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” Jesus is Jehovah Nissi, the banner of salvation. He was lifted up on a piece of wood on a hill, bringing victory over sin and Satan, and those who look to Him will be saved.

Colossians 2:15 is a wonderful picture of Christ’s triumphant victory: “And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” The word for “disarmed” is literally “stripped,” as in stripping a defeated enemy of armor on the battlefield. The powers and authorities of this evil world stripped Christ of his clothing and popularity, made a public spectacle of him on the cross, and thought they had triumphed over him by putting Him to death. Little did they know that the victory actually belonged to Jesus. We’ll celebrate that on Easter Sunday! Friends, evil no longer has any power over you because Christ has stripped Satan’s weapons and he is now disarmed.

The cultural background to this verse is rich with meaning. When the Romans went off to fight their enemies, after winning the war, they would bind their vanquished foes together by the hands and march them single file back to Rome where they would have a huge celebration. Thousands of Romans would line the streets to watch this “public spectacle.” At the front of the parade would be the conquering General. Following him would be those soldiers who had acted heroically in battle. The rest of the army would follow. And then at the rear of the procession would be all those who had been conquered. As they would march past the crowds, the people would jeer at them, cast insults, and even throw things. You didn’t want to be the main attraction at one of these pubic spectacles!

Jesus has turned those who thought they were captors into captives, displaying them in His victory celebration. We don’t have to succumb
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