“Can plunder be taken from warriors, or captives rescued from the fierce?
This is what the Lord says:
‘Yes, captives will be taken from the warriors,
and plunder retrieved from the fierce;
I will contend with those who contend with you,
and your children I will save.'” ~Isaiah 49:24-25
“No one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house.” ~Mark 3:27
As Jesus teaches and loves and heals and drives out demons in Mark 3, he’s accused by religious leaders and his own family of being possessed by Satan. But Jesus makes it clear: what’s happening is not the result of some civil war within Satan’s ranks. This is a direct frontal assault from the outside. The strong man is Satan. His house, his domain, is this world which he’s trying desperately to secure and hold on to. His possessions are his victims, these people he’s taken captive. He’s trapped these victims. He’s imprisoned them with sin and fear and death and disease and demons. He’s holding them with divorce and crime and addiction and unemployment and cancer. He’s got ’em. But then along comes the stronger one, Jesus. He comes from God, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to cross the barriers of time and space, to smash through the walls of the devil’s house, to tie Satan up and carry off his precious possessions. To free the captives. To rescue the prisoners.
God himself overcomes the mighty one. He destroys forever the destroyer.
Satan uses our fears of the awful things we see all around us. Hebrews 2 says Satan holds the power of death and holds us in slavery, keeps us paralyzed, holds us in prison, by our fear of it. And then God himself breaks through, as the divine Son of Man. Jesus comes to earth, right into the middle of Satan’s house. He walks our streets. He teaches our people. He hugs our kids. He eats with us. He touches us. And he brings with him the eternal Kingdom of God! He wages war—not against the petty tyrants and selfish leaders and evil empires. He comes here intent on destroying THE Kingdom of Satan which has enslaved all of humanity. Christ Jesus, by his birth and life and teachings and ministry and death and burial and resurrection and exaltation, takes Satan’s plunder and rescues Satan’s captives and he ties Satan up and makes him watch.
We are that plunder taken. We are the captives rescued. This is us. We were the ones imprisoned by Satan. We were the ones held in slavery by our sins and paralyzed by our fears. We were the ones stuck, doomed, distressed, condemned. We were the hostages. We were the sentenced prisoners. We were headed to an eternity of death and despair. Damned by our own selfishness and sin. We were hopeless. We were already given up for gone.
But now we are rescued. We’re freed. We’re liberated.
We’re not just rescued from ourselves and our sins, we’re snatched from the life-choking clutches of Satan himself! We’re freed from the Kingdom of Darkness to walk eternally in newness of life.
“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the Kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” ~Colossians 1:13-14.
Several of you have been asking about Debbie Miller, the wife of one of the Four Horsemen, one of my dearest friends. Her surgery was yesterday. And it couldn’t have been more successful. It couldn’t have gone any better. And our Father couldn’t have answered our prayers in any more of an amazing way. All the cancer is totally gone! 100% gone! There wasn’t any in her muscle tissue. There’s not any in her lymph nodes. It was all contained in the tumors and the tumors are gone! Praise God!
I talked to Dan last night. He told me it was the greatest and happiest day he’s had since….and then he said it’s the greatest and happiest day of his entire life. Our God is great. He answers prayer. And he delivers his people. And we rejoice today with Dan and Debbie.
We’re leaving Friday for Searcy, Arkansas to spend about 24 hours with my brother, Keith, and his wonderful family. And then it’s off to Benton, Arkansas to hook up with Jimmy Mitchell and the Benton Church of Christ. Jimmy was our Youth Minister in Marble Falls when we were there from ’05-’07. I’ll be preaching for them in Benton on Sunday. Please keep our family in your prayers. And ask God to bless our time with great family and great friends.