Thursday, April 17, 2014

Passion Week Devotional, Day 4 (Maundy Thursday): Jesus' Death For Us Disarmed the Demons

Colossians 2.13-15

15After He disarmed the [demonic] rulers and authorities, He publically disgraced [them], by leading them as the captives in a triumphal procession with Him.

Demons. You can play as a demon in a video game. You can also kill demons that get in your way in games. We watch tv shows filled with demons or horror movies where evil spirits are at work. Some people read the horoscope, go to fortune-tellers and psychics, or even play games that operate by the work of demons.

All these things to us feel safe. We’ve tamed demons, we think to ourselves, as if some human ever could. Yet, since Adam and Eve walked the garden, men and women have failed to tame the devil. They’ve never been able to control him. He’s been the one controlling them.

The truth is demons are dangerous, threatening, and evil. And people who make demons nice, or fun, or useful have likely never faced their true evil, at least not with open eyes. In truth, demons are far more psychotic. They are our real enemy. We think that we are fighting with people or systems sometimes, when really we are up against the dark powers pulling their strings. Or perhaps we have faced their dark terrors in person while alone at night, or their sinister lies that haunt our thoughts, or their attacking bitterness against God they try to cultivate in our souls.

To be sure, we face opposition from our evil hearts and the evil world, but it also true that Paul was right when he said that we fight not against flesh and bone, but against demonic rulers and authorities, etc. But how is it that we can fight them. How is it even possible to recognize and stand firm against their attacks? How can we discern and repel their lies, their temptings of power, wealth, popularity, or health?

Answer: Jesus.  His death for us makes it possible. Because of Jesus we don’t fear demons. Because of Jesus in fact we don’t even fight fair. Because of Jesus, our war with demons is not one of standing up against their mighty battle lines. No, because of Jesus, our war with demons is already as good as done. They’ve lost. Their power is vanquished. Their lies exposed. We face demons without fear, because when Jesus died on the cross for our sins, He “publically disgraced the demonic rulers and authorities!”

It is not us Christians that fear and feel ashamed of failure or weakness anymore, because Jesus’ death FOR US has stripped them bare. The demons no longer have armor to carry, weapons to hold, or hope to hang onto! Jesus has disarmed them. He has put them to shame.

So the next time, the demonic enemies tempt you to despair over your weakness or failure, you can stand and celebrate boldly in Jesus’ Name the victory won. Because for those of us in Christ, the most important failure we need to remember in the presence of demonic opposition and oppression and temptation to self-hatred, cutting, suicide, to bullying, gossiping, controlling, to defeatism, sexual surrender, avoidance, or to fear, selfishness, or anger, is not our failure, but theirs, because of Christ’s success! Christ was VICTORIOUS ON THE CROSS! He beat up our demonic bullies! He silenced our demonic accusers! He gave us meaning and value that demons could never steal!

So indeed, Jesus’ death is FOR US! Jesus gives us fearlessness and victory over our defeated enemy the devil, just as He also gives us a true and lasting relationship with God, freedom to live for God instead of living to sin, and freedom from having to earn God’s gracious gift of righteousness and life! We are freed from a broken and indebted relationship to God, freed from sin to live for God, freed from earning grace, and freed from the power and domination of Satan! Praise Jesus! He did it all for the glory of God and our own good!

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