When the fight between good and evil became personal
The birth of Christ brought a whole new level of conflict between good and evil into our world. Specifically between God and the evil one. Many don't know that the first prediction of a coming messiah who would destroy Satan is found in Genesis 3:15 when Adam and Eve were evicted from the garden because of their rebellion against God.
On that day of judgment for our original ancestors, there was also an amazing word of grace. Three key statements lay out that grace. First, God says that he would put enmity between the woman and the serpent (who had convinced her to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree). Second, he says that that enmity would extend to her offspring and his (speaking of those demons who accompanied him in rebellion against God. Third, God says there is coming one male offspring of the woman who would crush Satan's head although Satan would strike at His heel. That one male offspring would be the Messiah who would one day destroy Satan.
Satan knew on that day that his days were numbered. He knew there was one individual who would one day destroy him. He just didn't know who and when and where. What he did know was that this individual would come through the tribe of David. In fact, you will remember that when the wise men told Herod that they were looking for the King of the Jews who had been born that he had all the male boys under 2 years old killed. Who inspired Herod to do that? None other than Satan who wanted to cut off the threat.
When did Satan figure out who that One was? Most likely at the public baptism of Christ by John the Baptist and immediately afterward, he followed Jesus into the desert to tempt him. From this time on, the conflict between Jesus and Satan was intensely personal. Who would win?
But it became intensely personal for us as well. Satan cannot destroy God so he does the next best thing. He tries to kill God in effigy by hurting those made in His image. This is how Jesus frames that personal conflict that we have with the evil one. Jesus says in John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." He is telling us that we have an enemy and we have a friend. One comes to diminish and one comes to bless. Thus the divine conflict now impacts us and has since our ancestors rebelled against God in the garden.
But, in the incarnation, Jesus shows us that His power is always able to bring life and defeat evil. When Jesus healed, forgave sin, called people to Himself, invited them to join Him in His work, welcomed them into His kingdom, gave the hopeless hope, the sad joy, the marginalized honor, the sinful, forgiveness, and those without any power, the power of His Holy Spirit that no one could diminish - He demonstrated that in a personal relationship with Him, the evil one has been defeated. That is the power of the incarnation and the power we have today.
In the incarnation, the fight between good and evil became intensely personal. But even more personal for us as the Good Shepherd came and lived among us, showed us His grace and His love, and demonstrated time and again that His love envelops us and His power protects us. In the incarnation the fight became good and evil became personal, but our Savior became even more personal as He showed us His character and invited us into His family. Jesus wins over Satan every time. His subsequent death and resurrection sealed Satan's fate forever.
Remember today, you have an enemy. More importantly, you have a friend. The first wants to diminish your life. The second wants to bring ultimate fulfillment to you. And it is personal because the second invites you to join His family, His work, and His kingdom.
Father, thank you for taking the battle to the enemy for our sake. Thank you for personally defeating him and thank you for personally inviting us into Your family, Your work, and your Kingdom. Amen