The second Sunday of Lent: February 25, 2024

 

Scripture reading: Luke 10:1, 17-24

Introduction

Understanding your spiritual authority!

How Jesus restricted Satan’s authority at his first coming

  • The Son of God became a “son of man” to reestablish human authority over the earth, which had been usurped by Satan from Adam and Eve (Gen 3). At his first coming, Jesus severely undermined Satan’s authority to operate on the earth. Consider the following:
  • All throughout his ministry, Jesus countered Satan’s authority with his vastly superior authority. Jesus, obedient to the Father and filled with the Spirit, exerted his authority as the New Adam through his exorcisms, healings, words of revelation, nature miracles, resusitations, etc. Through these “power encounters” Jesus began the process of Satan’s cosmic exorcism (Jn 12:31-33, ekballo; cf. Mt 12:28; Rev 12:9). Three key events:
  • Through his death on Good Friday, Jesus destroyed Satan’s legal case against humanity. Prior to this, Satan could legally accuse God’s people before God’s throne in the divine courtroom (Job 1, 2; Zech 3). Then the Son of God is made a son man, lives out torah obediently, keeping all covenant obligations, died as our substitute on the cross, absorbing our sin and imputing his righteousness to us, annulling Satan’s charges against us (Col 2:14-15; Rom 8:31-34). Satan is disbarred from the heavenly courtroom!
  • Through his resurrection on Easter Sunday, Jesus obliterated the power of death and ushered the new creation into the present age (2 Cor 5:17). Death swallowed up Jesus and the unexpected happens: death is “swallowed up in victory”! (1 Cor 15:54-55). Jesus repossessed the keys to death and hades (Rev 1:18; Heb 2:14-15).
  • Through his ascension, Jesus was coronated King of kings over the world, reestablishing human authority over the earth. One day he will return to reign on his earthly throne. For the time being, he has commissioned us to rule on his behalf, embodying his character, submitted to his Father, filled with his Spirit, exercising his power to make disciples of all the nations in preparation for his glorious return to the throne of David.

Quick summary of how Jesus changed the spiritual balance-of-powers

  • He destroyed the works of the devil: 1 Jn 3:8-12, Heb 2:14-15
  • He disarmed Satan and the dark powers: Col 2:14-15
  • He bound the “strong man” to free his captives: Lk 11:14-23: cf. Mk 1:24; Mt 18:18.
  • He began the process of subjugating all things “under his feet”: 1 Cor 15:24ff, Ps 110.
  • He deputized us with his own authority and power to carry on his work: Lk 10:17-20.
  • He delivered us from the present evil age: Gal 1:3b-4

What does this mean for your life?

  • You have power in the present. Power over sin (Rom 6). You’re free: your enslavement to sin is ended! You have everything you need to live a holy life (2 Pet 1:3). Power over malign authorities. Through your holy living and persevering prayers, you have the power to push back the kingdom of darkness and set others free. You have authority to exorcise demons (Lk 10:19). Your prayers tear down spiritual strongholds (2 Cor 10:4-5). What you bind/loose on earth is bound/loosed in heaven (Mt 18:18).
  • To be clear: Satan doesn’t take this lying down. He’s using lies, deception, moral compromise, spiritual laziness and misdirection to try to you from being a threat to his control. He will try to co-opt you with the American dream. He tempts you to live merely satisfy your fleshly desires and forget your divine calling and authority to rule the earth and set the captives free. Don’t let him! Stay in God’s word. Nurture your relationship with him. Pray the Lord’s prayer: “lead us not into temptation…”
  • You have hope for the future. One day (soon?) Jesus will return and throw Satan into the Lake of Fire (Rev 20:10). In the meantime, we are safe in Jesus’ hand (Jn 10:28). Satan can’t kill us or afflict us without permission from God (Lk 22:31-34). Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Rom 8:38-39). If we are faithful, Jesus will crush Satan under our feet (Rom 16:20). So, stand in your authority by power of God’s Spirit and go and set the captives free.