The Magnificent Duel

sword fightLuke 4:14 “Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit….”

The temptation Jesus encounters after his baptism sounds like a sword fight—a duel more profound than any graphic arts designer could capture, even with the finest visual effects possible…

Satan begins by wielding his blade of doubt… If you are the Son of God… Its sting misses Jesus completely because the Son of God suffered no confusion as to his identity. Jesus counters with a thrust of the most powerful sword in the universe… It is written

Satan advances again. This time he attempts to distract Jesus. He displays before him all the authority and splendor of the world and promises to give it to him…if…(and here we see Satan lunge forward) Jesus worships him. Jesus, diligently on guard, deflects the enemy’s weapon…It is written…

Satan is sly. Seeing how well Jesus’ sword is working, he makes one last desperate attempt to strike a final blow by turning Jesus’ sword on himself…For it is written. Somehow his use of the Word of God doesn’t brandish the same power. In fact, one imagines the sword burning right through his spiny fingers as Jesus declares, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

The contest ends. Satan retreats, slinking away in the darkness. He will return, of course, but for now the old serpent is subdued. And what of Jesus? How did this great conflict affect him? Scripture tells us he returned from this magnificent duel in the power of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit who had led him into this wilderness of temptation, now floods him with His power. Jesus goes forward to fulfill his call (Luke 4:18-19).

And how does this apply to us? Could it be that, like Jesus, each time we say ‘no’ to temptation we grow in the power of the Spirit? Could it be that every time we use the Word of God to resist Satan’s attempts to thrust us into doubt, defeat and destruction that something transpires to further God’s call in our lives?

I pray we will not forget the tremendous weapon God has entrusted to us. This sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17) proves to be living, active, sharp and penetrating (Hebrews 4:12). It will lead us to victory every time.

En garde!

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