"Know Your Enemy"
October 5, 2014
(Jesus said) "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you also will live." John 14:18-19
Lately, there seems to be a lot of discussion about who is our enemy?
Inflation, deflation, ISIS, Islam, greed, guns, poverty, prejudice, and unemployment are all being held out as the more recent enemies of humankind. Indeed, you would be hard-pressed to find a day when some new enemy doesn't rise up and express its desire to destroy your happiness, contentment and security. This is why, sooner or later, most of us find ourselves wondering, just who is the real enemy?
Centuries ago, Paul identified our real enemy to the Christians of Ephesus. Having seen God's people dealing with immorality, false deities, and prejudice, the apostle wanted God's people to see their enemy was more than a man-made silver or gold statue. That is why, by inspiration he wrote, "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places" (Ephesians 6:12).
Satan was the enemy of the Ephesians.
He is ours, as well.
Lest we forget, Satan was the enemy who had been there when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. He was the enemy who tried to destroy the Savior at His Bethlehem birth. He was the enemy who tried to use Scripture to divert Jesus from His mission of salvation and divest Him of His Godhead on the Mount of Temptation. Satan is the same enemy who stripped Jesus of His friends in the Garden of Gethsemane, the enemy who falsely accused Jesus of blasphemy and denied Him a fair trial.
He is the same enemy who was absolutely delighted when Jesus was nailed to a cross.
Yet, contrary to all expectations, on Resurrection Sunday it was the enemy, not the Christ, who was defeated.
On Good Friday, with our sins having been carried and paid for, Jesus with His last breath had cried out, "It is finished!" (see John 19:30). That was not the cry of a victim; His was the shout of a Victor.
Those words, shown to be true at the moment of Christ's descent into hell, sent Satan and his squadron of damned souls scurrying. Three days later, the angels told the world what hell had already known to be true: the risen Lord means the Lord has won, and our enemy has lost.
Now you may say, "I read the paper and I listen to the news." It doesn't look to me like the good has won. It looks like the world is in an unstoppable and irreversible downward spiral. That, my friends, may be true. There are still numerous battles and skirmishes going on in the world. The fight for individual souls continues on.
But the final, the ultimate, the most important battle of all has been won by the sacrificing Savior. This is why those who are saved can rightly proclaim, "Because Jesus lives, we shall live also!"
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, national and religious leaders are doing their best to minimize the resurrection reality. There are preachers and philosophers, teachers and commentators who tell us Jesus is of no importance or consequence. May we always realize that Jesus has won the final and ultimate victory. Now, because of our Redeemer, we can be assured the victory has been won and the crown of life is ours. In Jesus' Name I give thanks. Amen.
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Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries