Jesus Exposes Satan, Demons, Darkness
It is inevitable that following Jesus (“the Light of the world,” John 8:12) will cause collision with Satan/darkness. Jesus’ own ministry revealed demons and Satan more than any other figure in the Bible (I believe I heard there were 60 run-ins with demons Jesus had, by one count). And Jesus himself connected the entrance of His kingdom with Spirit-led deliverance of demons (Matt. 12:28).
Further, it is to believers that God warns: “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms,” (Eph. 6:12). And, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Pet. 5:8).
Focus on Jesus
Saying this may cause us to fear, but that’s only because our focus went in the wrong direction. It’s true that you are no match for the enemy (e.g. Psalm 18:17), but Satan is no match for Jesus/God (e.g. 1 John 4:4; Rev. 12:8). Focusing on Satan and self will inevitably bring fear, but focusing on Jesus will bring faith and boldness. Thus, Jesus/God himself says things like, “fear not, only believe,” (Mark 5:36). In fact, Richard Wumrbrand said that the phrase “Fear not” occurs 366 times in the Bible, which he (and I) surmise is so that we see that God commands us to stop fearing afresh EVERY DAY of the year (including leap years!).
In any case, consider:
- Psalm 23:5: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;” – notice you can be in the presence of enemies, and still have a banquet before the Lord. Don’t get distracted by the enemy, enjoy the banquet.
- Psalm 110:2: God tells Jesus to, “Rule in the midst of your enemies!” Again, Jesus will rule. That’s a fact. And He will have enemies. God doesn’t say rule in the absence of your enemies, but “in the midst of,” them. They do not stop Jesus from focusing on his mission of ruling, nor should they cause us to stop focusing on our mission of following Him.
- Psalm 25:15: “My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.” This seems a strange place to look when there is a net down at your feet! But we are to point our eyes to the Lord, despite traps around us, and He will take care of us.
- Numbers 21 – In this episode there are lots of snakes attacking Israel. They wanted to be done with the snakes and even asked Moses to remove them. But, instead, God told Moses to hoist up a dead snake on a pole. Then, “everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live,” (v. 8). Notice the remedy? God didn’t take away the snakes in their midst. He just told them to change their focus, and look upon this dead snake on a pole. Well, guess what? In John 3:14-15, Jesus tells us: “as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” The serpent dead and judged, lifted on a pole, was a picture of the work Jesus would complete on the cross. Our belief and focus on Him is like the Israelites looking up to the serpent hoisted up. When they got their attention off of the serpents attacking them at their feet, they actually had relief. We will not find relief by looking down at the serpent/Satan slithering around to attack us. Power comes from focusing up.
And when it’s clear you need to confront Satan, do so with the authority of the Lord in you:
- Acts 16:18 – “Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.”
- James 4:7 – “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (notice the order here)
For, “he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world,” (1 John 4:4).