January 16 Tying the strong man

Matthew 12:29 Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house.

Jesus came to earth to take away Satan’s power and to release people who he had held captive in his ‘house’. The ‘possessions’ in this verse are really people who have been dominated by the Evil One. Jesus was saying that only He had the power to deal with Satan so that captives can be set free. That was His intention, and still is.

After His baptism, the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to confront Satan. Jesus won the power contest … it was a bit like a landlord giving an illegal tenant a legal notice to move out. When Jesus rose from the dead, all Satan’s hopes were dashed. He now knows that Jesus will soon end his reign of terror and so he is stepping up his evil activity like a disturbed hornet.

The power of Satan is real. Not least through his ability to implant tempting lies into our hearts. Even if they do not realise it, everybody is trapped by him until they are released by Jesus Christ. As we believe the gospel, confess our sins and receive Christ into our hearts by faith (Ephesians 3:17), then Satan has no right to hold us captive. As we cry out to the Lord He will work in us, to help us resist temptation. He also wants us to work with Him to spread the good news about Jesus so that many other people can be liberated into a new life under His authority.

Prayer:
Almighty God. Thank You that Satan’s reign of terror over Your world is limited and that Jesus has been given greatly superior authority. Forgive me for the times when I accept Satan’s lies and cooperate with him instead of rejecting them and cooperating with Jesus. Please help me to recognise that Jesus has set me free from Satan’s bondage, and help me to work with Him to tell the good news to my friends and colleagues. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Bible readings
Revelation 12:12; 1 John 3:8; Luke 4:18-21

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