Read the end of Ephesians 6 this morning. Took note afresh of the promise of being able to stand firm with the armor of God given that “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood” (Eph. 6:12a).
And I can’t help but wonder if some element of that wrestling match isn’t playing out in our land. While I’m not one to see the devil behind every evil thing on earth, nor wanting to give his legion “credit” for stuff that itself is able to flow freely from man’s darkened heart, you can’t help but think that where there is unfathomable disregard for image bearers of God, and where there is chaotic violence under the pretense of productive protest, the fingers of the destroyer may very well be at play.
And maybe, because of this mindset, that’s why I’m particularly taken with my reading in Luke this morning.
Setting: a synagogue in Capernaum on the Sabbath. And there Jesus is teaching. And the people are marveling.
. . . they were astonished at His teaching, for His word possessed authority.
(Luke 4:32 ESV)
He didn’t just parrot truth, He sourced the truth. Something in the way He spoke conveyed He was more than just a scribe, but that somehow He was, in fact, the Author.
And then, a hissing voice breaks the hush of awe that filled the place. The voice of a son of Adam possessed by a minion of Satan.
“Ha! What have You to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are — the Holy One of God.”
(Luke 4:34 ESV)
The cry of a “spirit of an unclean demon” (4:33). One from the ranks of “the authorities . . . the cosmic powers over this present darkness . . . the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” breaking the silence and calling out the Holy One of God. Arrogance. Defiance. Not of flesh and blood. But no match for the One who created flesh and blood.
Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm.
(Luke 4:35 ESV)
And here’s what I’m chewing on this morning: the response of the spectators in this supernatural “wrestling match.” The second time the peanut gallery gasps. The second time they are compelled to draw the same conclusion.
And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!”
(Luke 4:36 ESV)
They were astonished that His word possessed such authority. They were amazed that His commands were rooted in such power.
And I’m reminded that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever (Heb. 13:8). That the authority He had on earth against the principalities of the air back then, is the same authority He possesses seated at the Almighty’s right hand in heaven over the deeds of darkness here on earth today.
And it is this same Jesus who, by faith, lives in me and through me (Gal. 2:20). Not that I have authority to speak chaos into calm, nor compel riots to rest, but I know the One who does, should He choose.
What’s more, I have been fitted with the armor He has provided so that I “may be able to stand . . . able to withstand . . . and having done all, to stand firm” (Eph. 6:10b, 13b). Not that I might preserve self, but that I might be a bold witness of “the mystery of the gospel” (Eph. 6:19). Not that I can do it myself, but in the One whose word possesses authority.
Crazy times we’re in. But whom shall we fear?
. . . for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
(1John 4:4 ESV)
By His grace. For His glory.