Friday, January 31, 2014

Why Jesus declared war on Satan

Luke 3:38-4:1  3:38 "the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. 4:1 Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness."

The main concern of today's post is discovering why Jesus came to declare war on Satan. Luke 4 will be the main text of this lesson. We will note the following headings as we attempt to answer the question: why Jesus declared war on Satan?

1. Defeat Satan as the New Adam. Lk 4:1-13
2. Deliver people from bondage. Lk 4:14-41
3. Declare the Gospel. Lk 4:42-44

Defeat Satan as the New Adam. Lk 4:1-13
In the opening verses of today's post, you may notice that one chapter is ending and another is beginning.  As the Holy Ghost superintended Luke's writing of his Gospel, He arranged to have Jesus' genealogy go all the way back to Adam and take the reader right into the beginning of Jesus' temptation by Satan. Such a curious feature alerts the reader to the fact that side by side we see Old Adam (Lk 3:38) and Jesus the "New Adam". The New Testament picks up this theme of Jesus Christ being the "New Adam" or the "second Adam" to show that He came to be the head of a redeemed humanity composed of those choice saints who have freely believed on Him as Savior and Lord. (Romans 5:11-21; 1 Corinthians 15:20-28, 42-49).  

Jesus acted as the New Adam and did what Adam could never do: successfully defeat Satan toe to toe. Whenever you see the genealogy prefacing the temptation account, you discover that over 70 generations of humanity represented one rusted link after another - marked by failure, sin and defeat.  Adam failed to defeat Satan in Genesis 3, as well as Abraham in his temptation (Genesis 12:10-11); Isaac in his (Genesis 26); Israel in the book of Numbers and King David in his temptation in 2 Samuel 11. From the corrosive sea of history the Holy Spirit displays the rusted chain of humanity, and on the one end is Old Adam, and on the other end is a golden link - The sinless New Adam, Jesus Christ.

According to 1 John 2:15-17, Satan's three primary weapons are the lust of eyes (2:16), the flesh (2:16) and the boasting about what one has (2:16). Satan did to Jesus what he did to Adam and his wife: he tempted in the realm of the drives, the senses or the lust of the eyes (Luke 4:1-4). Next Satan appealed to Jesus much like Adam in the realm of the visual, of the heart, or the boastful pride of life by showing him all the kingdoms of the world. (Luke 4:5-8) Then Satan appealed to Jesus like he did Adam by the lust of the flesh, the reliance of self by tempting Jesus to cast himself to the floor of the temple. (Luke 4:9-13) All three of these temptations overlapped and intertwined like newly woven ropes.  Would Satan be able to tie up Jesus like he had with the other great but sinful men of the past? Thankfully not.  Jesus was sinless, they were sinful.  Despite being in a barren wasteland in contrast to Old Adam's idyllic settings in Genesis 3, Jesus the New Adam soundly defeated Satan. Jesus as God in human flesh warred with Satan and won this first of many battles.  However there was to be further warfare, which leads us to the second reason why Jesus came to declare war on Satan, namely....

Deliver people from bondage. Lk 4:14-41
It is astonishing to consider the number of references in the four Gospels regarding Jesus' battles and warfare with Satan and the demonic realm.  Why? Why did Jesus need to wage war against Satan and the demonic realm? The New Testament epistles explain that He came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8) and to deliver people from bondage underneath the Devil's tyranny of fear (Hebrews 2:14-15). 

As Jesus began to teach and preach in the local Jewish meeting houses or synagogues of his day, the first sermon ever preached by Him is recorded.  In Luke 4:18 we see Jesus explaining why it is He came to wage war on the kingdom of darkness from His quotation of Isaiah 61:1: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed." Following His dramatic reading and announcement of His fulfillment of that text, it is clear that the people's violent reaction shows that what He said was radical.

However what happens next in Luke 4:30-41 is truly astonishing.  Prior to the advent of Jesus as God in human flesh, no recorded successful exorcism has ever occurred. You can comb the entire Old Testament and not find one instance of any prophet casting out a demon.  However, we find two successful exorcisms performed by Jesus in Luke 4. (Luke 4:33-37; 4:41) Something indeed had been altered as a result of Jesus' coming.  A new era was dawning.  Truly Jesus' waging of war on Satan and the Kingdom of darkness was no empty threat.  Like a mighty iceberg crawling atop the surface of a mighty tract of land that clears away the terrain, Jesus' walk across the bridge of time meant the pushing back of Satan's tyranny and the diminishing of the kingdom of darkness. 

However there is one more reason why Jesus came to declare war on Satan, namely..

Declare the Gospel. Lk 4:42-44
Jesus Himself  says plainly in Luke 4:43 "But He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose.” What was the outcome of Jesus' declaration? Note Luke 4:44 "So He kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea." The battle was fought and won by Jesus for our sake.  The church's main task is to continue what Jesus came to do in declaring war on Satan: declare the Gospel, preaching wherever the lost are at and set people free from the tyranny of the evil one. (compare Acts 26:18;  2 Timothy 2:1-4).

The main concern of today was to discover why Jesus came to declare war on Satan. We will noted the following reasons
1. Defeat Satan as the New Adam. Lk 4:1-13
2. Deliver people from bondage. Lk 4:14-41
3. Declare the Gospel. Lk 4:42-44

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