He is Risen: Jesus vs. SatanPosted: April 24, 2012
In Sunday’s message we looked at Jesus’ appearance to the disciples in Galilee. Jesus says to them: All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. This is quite a statement. And it’s remarkable to contrast this statement of Jesus with a statement Satan makes earlier in the Gospel.
Earlier in the gospel, when Satan tempts Jesus, they have the following exchange:
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.” 10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.” Matthew 4:8-11.
So here’s the question: Is Satan’s offer to Jesus real? Did Satan really have the authority over the kingdoms of this world to give to Jesus? Many commentators are divided on this issue. Some think it’s a fair offer; others think it’s a bluff.
I’m inclined to believe Satan did have this authority. In John’s gospel, Jesus repeatedly calls Satan the ruler of this world. Moreover, if Satan is bluffing, Jesus doesn’t call it. Jesus does not say: You don’t have this authority. Jesus says: I’m not going to worship you.
So let’s for a moment assume Satan’s offer was real. Let’s assume Satan did have authority over the kingdoms of this world. Let’s assume Satan could make this offer in good faith.
But that was then. Jesus, after his resurrection, claims that all authority now belongs to him. Or conversely, no authority belongs to Satan. This would agree with many biblical authors who claim that Jesus decisively triumphed over Satan through his death and resurrection.
There’s a saying: Give the devil his due. But maybe we ought to say: Give Jesus his due.
All authority over the kingdoms of this world belongs to Jesus. Satan may have had this authority. But he does so no longer. This world belongs to Jesus. Period. Let’s give Jesus his due.