Con­trast: Christ and Satan

WEAK BUT STRONG

Lethbridge Herald - - FAITH | PETS PAGE - Ja­cob M. Van Zyl

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.

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