Summary: Jesus came to conquer and disarm Satan. Mark 1 is about "authority". The minisrty of Jesus actively engages and defeats satan and his demons. The ultimate defeat was the cross and resurrection.
In Jesus Holy Name February 1, 2009
Epiphany IV Redeemer
“The Cosmic Battle for Authority”
There is an ongoing cosmic battle happening in the world around us as Satan seeks to possess and destroy the lives and souls of men, women and children. We just sang Martin Luther’s famous hymn:
“The old satanic foe has sworn to work us woe
with craft and dreadful might
He arms himself to fight.
Though hordes of devils fill the land
All threatening to devour us
We tremble not, unmoved we stand
They can not overpower us
Let this world’s tyrant rage
His might is doomed to fail
They can not win the day!
Satan and his demonic angels can not win the day unless we give in to his temptations. When we were baptized, we wrapped ourselves within the protection of the Holy Spirit. But we must realize that the words recorded in I Peter explains the present reality.
“Be self controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him.” (I Peter 5:8-9) God has done his part and we must do ours.
After Jesus was baptized he spent 40 days in the wilderness. There, we are told that he was tempted by Satan three times. The temptations of Satan were designed to tempt Jesus to deny his deity… “If you are the Son of God…”
2nd. Temptation. Jesus was tempted to break one of the commandments and worship Satan in order to avoid the cross. Jesus resisted.
The Bible tells us that on the cross Jesus disarmed and defeated the devil and all the principalities and powers at his command. Every sin committed by every believer was nailed to the cross and left there. God the Creator, the eternal Judge, promised that all who stand under the blood soaked cross of Jesus, will have their sins erased, totally wiped away.
Rev. John Stott, in his book “The Cross of Christ” writes: “…the devil has been defeated, he has not yet conceded defeat. Although he has been overthrown, he has not yet been eliminated.” (p.239)
The name Satan means ‘adversary’. Jesus called Satan the “father of lies” and a “murderer”. (John 8:44) Still today in many countries people live in dread of evil spirits. But here in our quote: “sophisticated” Western world, many people ridicule the belief that there is a personal devil who works his evil ways through people.
Rudolf Bultman made the following statement which summarizes the view of many: “it is impossible to use electric lights & wireless (communications) and avail ourselves of modern medical and surgical discoveries, and at the same time believe in the N.T. world of demons and spirits.”
As Christians we know that the defeat of Satan happened at the cross. The resurrection of Jesus from death and the grave endorsed, proclaimed and demonstrated his victory over Satan. If Jesus had not been raised from death our faith and preaching would be futile. Because of the resurrection of Jesus Satan has been deprived of his power to hold people in the fear of death. I John 3:8 states that the “Son of God appeared in order to “undo” or “do away” with the works of the devil.” (I John 3:8) Jesus came to confront and defeat Satan’s power and authority. That is what we see happening in our text. (Mark 1:21-28)
Even though “Jesus has dethroned Satan, Satan still wields great power and influence in our world. This is the reason for the tension we feel in both our theology and our experience. On the one hand we are alive, seated and reigning with Christ, empowered to live by His Holy Spirit; on the other hand we are warned that the spiritual forces of Satan have set themselves in opposition to us and we have no hope of defeating his temptations unless we put on the whole armor of God.”# )Eph. 5:13-15) “… the belt of truth, breast plat of righteousness, and feet fitted with readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”
On the one hand we know that believers in Jesus, in whom the Holy Spirit dwells, insures our safety. On the other hand we know that Satan can tempt us, just as he tempted Jesus. “For the devil prowls around looking for someone to devour.“ But thanks to God we have the ability to resist by the power of the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus walked roads and villages of this earth God was openly challenging Satan’s power and authority. Jesus dismissed demons, healed people from illnesses and raised some who had died back to life.
The Apostle Paul wrote: “He forgave us all our sins, having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (The Cross of Christ p. 233)