Showdown

“Throwback Friday” . . . rerunning some thoughts from 2011 . . .

I really don’t remember the last time I watched one of those classic westerns where the guy in the white hat takes on the guy in the black hat.  Where, on some dusty, deserted main street the two stand mere paces from each other in a final showdown.  They look each other in the eye . . . the “bad guy” confident he can draw his six shooter faster than the one before him . . . the “good guy” KNOWING he can.

John 13 marks the beginning of the end.  Jesus knows that “His hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father” (13:1).  And what kind of grabbed me this morning is the manner in which the Spirit through John clearly identifies the “behind the scenes” spiritual dynamics . . . the fact that there was about to be a once-for-all-eternity cosmic showdown . . .

At one end of the street is the devil — diablos, the enemy of God, the prince of darkness, the ruler of this world.  And his “behind the scenes” work is that he has already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus (13:2).  The MSG says, “The devil by now had Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, firmly in his grip, all set for the betrayal.”  Lucifer, fallen angel of God, could see his plan coming together.  The Pharisees’ were already determined to put Jesus to death (John 11:53) and with Judas’ indignation at Mary’s costly act of worship and Jesus’ rebuke (John 12:3-8), Satan had the opening to “enter his heart” .  . . to load the final bullet in the chamber.  It was really all that the devil had hoped for, his plan was falling into place, the Son of God would soon be his.  Satan had the power of death at his disposal and soon he would draw his weapon and take out the Holy One.  Or so he thought.

Facing His enemy, eye to eye, Jesus of Nazareth.  God manifest in flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, soon to be taken up in glory (1Tim. 3:16).  Jesus, “the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see.” (1Tim. 6:15-16).  Jesus, the meek and lowly, in the upper room with “His own” . . . loving them to the end (13:1) . . . garment laid aside, his robe girded about Him, towel in His hand, kneeling before mere mortals, washing their feet.

Oh, Satan gleefully anticipated Jesus’ end . . . certain that he had Him right where he wanted Him . . . “Oh,” Satan thinks, “If He only knew what’s coming . . . ”  But John tells us that Jesus did know.  Jesus knew His hour had come (13:1).  He knew that just as He had come from the Father He would soon be returning (13:3).  He knew that, though the cross awaited Him, so did victory . . . that He would triumph in this cosmic showdown.

Jesus knew that just as “the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14).  He knew that soon He would disarm the powers and authorities, making a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross (Col. 2:15) . . . that He would die, be entombed, and three days later rise from the dead as the absolute, undisputed Champion of God — returning to the Father having completed the work He was sent to do.  Game . . . set . . . match!

Jesus knew it then . . . and I know it now.  Oh, the victory I share in today because the One robed in white defeated the one who commanded death.  The devil is defeated . . . death is defeated . . . sin no longer has dominion.

Jesus knew the hour had come . . . that it was “high noon” . . . that this world wasn’t big enough for the two of them . . . and, obedient to the Father’s will, He gave of Himself, as the ultimate sacrifice . . . as the death-defeating “shot” heard throughout eternity.

Praise You, O’ Savior!!  “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Cor 15:57).

All through abounding grace.  All for God’s eternal glory.

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