Friday, September 8, 2017

Jesus’ Enemy Contact in John’s Gospel (XVIII)

We will now explore with Jesus how Satan collides with religious people.  

One expects the world to be influenced by Satan; but to hear Satan through the mouth of religious leaders, who should on the lookout for such intrusions, is mind-boggling.  Some of our deepest hurt can come from those who should know better:

But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. Ye do the deeds of your father.

Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.

Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.  And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. (John 8:40-45)

The leaders, because of their anger and jealousy at Jesus, have given Satan a stronghold.  Their emotional reaction has now transformed into murderous intent.   

This is why anger is so dangerous, for it can lead to murder.  Why?  Once you have given Satan an open door with your anger, he will come in and start building a case against the person you are angry at; soon, with your anger growing, ideas about what you should do to that person also grows.  It may even grow into ending that person’s life.

This is why lust is so dangerous, for it can lead to adultery or any kind of sexual sin.  Lust opens the door to Satan, allowing him to influence your thinking. Such thinking grows into more and more of a focus which transforms into potent desire.  Before long, you are making plans, with Satan providing the itinerary. 
Satan is the “father of lies.”  A stronghold—anger, lust, jealousy, fear, doubt—will allow him in to start weaving the lies into a greater and greater web.  Our emotions and our heart will blind us to who Jesus really is; Satan works with that blindness and the lies will become stronger and stronger, bringing us deeper and deeper into Satan’s way of thinking.  Soon, we have united our wills to his agenda and the results will be devastating. 

These religious leaders, so angry with Jesus, are going to soon unite with the Romans (whom they despise) to kill Him.  Sin makes strange bedfellows, does it not? 

Think of the kid, growing up in an alcoholic home and despising his father, will, because of anger and unforgiveness, someday turn into his father and head down that same road of destruction.

Think of the kid, growing up in a violent home and despising her father for beating her mother, will, because of hurt and a desperate need for love, choose a man who will turn out to be like her father. 

The list goes on and on, because of Satan’s lies to our heart. 

We have the right to be angry, jealous, hurt, bitter, disappointed, and broken because of what has happened to us in our lives.  God doesn’t want us to live in such bondage.  Jesus came to heal and restore us.  But instead of seeking Him, we listen to the lie of You Deserve to Feel This Way!

Then a long list (signed by Satan) of how to live with the pain comes rolling in: drugs, alcohol, abuse, fear, sinful indulgence, alternative lifestyles, unbelief...

The list is endless because Satan tells us the pain will be as well. 

But if we bring our anger, jealousy, hurt, bitterness, disappointment, and brokenness to Jesus, He will heal, restore and give us a new heart, one sensitive to His love and forgiveness.  The choice is ours, despite what Satan and the world says.  Stand on what the Word says:

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?  He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?  Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.  Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:31-39)

In summary, Jesus encountered evil and spoke the truth and the Word to drive it away.  Despite Satan’s best efforts to appear invincible, he’s not.  The Word of God is the best at rebuking Satan; this sharp Sword reminds the enemy that you are ready and willing to use it for yourself and for others. 

Whatever we do for His Kingdom must be done in the name of Jesus:

The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe. (Prov. 18:10)

Amen.

Next:  We will learn how to face our own Jericho!  (Hint:  It's a whole lot easier if we follow God's instructions...)


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