Contrast: Christ and Satan
WEAK BUT STRONG
Second of three parts
Parents want their children to be proud of themselves, their school, their home, their country and their achievements — but not haughty. There is good pride and bad pride. The line between the two is somewhat blurry; all must decide for themselves whether their pride at a specific point is the good or bad type. This discernment will determine if our pride parades serve good or bad goals.
Isaiah 14 and Revelation 12 and 13 depicts the pride of the devil. He wanted to exalt himself above God. He tried to destroy the Christ Child. He wants to annihilate Jews and Christians. Paul advised Timothy not to appoint novices as elders, lest they fall in the pride-trap of Satan (1 Tim. 3:6).
Satan’s main helpers — the Antichrist, False Prophet and Harlot — show the same arrogance as their master. They try to gain complete control over humanity either by military power, false religion or moral decay (Rev. 12, 13, 17).
In contrast to Satan and his helpers, the first coming of Christ was in humility. He was born in a stable, with a manger as his crib. His parents had to flee to Egypt to protect him against Satan’s murder plan.
Satan tried to mimic Christ’s incarnation by sending his demons into people. While Christ brought healing to body and soul, Satan tortured demoniacs. They lost their minds, scaring people and inflicting wounds on themselves. Mary Magdalene’s life was made miserable by seven demons. Jesus freed her, and she served him gratefully (Luke 8:1-3).
When he started his public ministry, Jesus did not have a home, office, headquarters, transport and administration. Occasionally, he borrowed Peter’s boat, and for his reception in Jerusalem he borrowed a donkey from an unknown person.
He was stripped of his clothes for the crucifixion. His enemies taunted and jeered him while he paid the ransom for their sins.
His seemingly weakest moment became his most powerful achievement. Before he died, he affirmed with certainty: It is accomplished! The Greek word literally means: the goal has been reached.
Despite all the hate and big talk of his enemies, they were the losers and he the winner. His followers soon increased to thousands. When persecuted, they fled and spread the gospel as far as they went. When we are weak, then we are strong.
Christ expects the same humble attitude of his followers. They must pick up their crosses every day and follow him. The early church in Jerusalem was poor. Christians were persecuted; they probably lost their jobs for being Christian. Paul held a collection for them in Greece (2 Cor. 8). The mother church shared her spiritual riches; the daughter church shared her material prosperity.
Jacob Van Zyl of Lethbridge is a retired counsellor and the author of several faith-based books.