The Church Militant


We know that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords, but that does not mean that all his enemies are completely beaten.  You will remember that when the Devil, the Spirit and Lord of Evil, found there was no place for him in Heaven, he came to this world to make it his kingdom.  Ever since then he has been fighting against God, and although he knows he cannot win, yet he will fight on to the end.  His plan is to get us to obey him and to separate us from God.  There is not a single person who can face the Devil alone and beat him.

Jesus and the Devil

But Jesus came from Heaven to rescue us from the Devil’s power.  He taught people to turn away from their sins, to love and obey God and to love one another.  All of this was completely the opposite of what the Devil wanted. 

Before Jesus began this public work, or his Ministry as we call it, he was baptised by John the Baptist in the River Jordan.  Immediately afterwards God’s voice was heard saying, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased” (NRSV, Mark 1:11).  After being baptised Jesus went alone into the desert to spend 40 days there getting ready for his great work.  The Devil at once began to tempt him to do wrong.

Jesus is tempted by the Devil

He knew that Jesus wanted to lead people to love and obey God, and so the Devil tried to put ideas into his head to attract the people by using his powers wrongly: by turning stones into bread and giving free food to all who followed him, or by doing tricks such as jumping off high buildings without hurting himself, or lastly to make war on the Romans, defeat their armies, overthrow the Emperor and make himself ruler of the world.

Jesus defeats the Devil

Jesus, however, showed himself stronger than the Devil by refusing to have anything to do with these suggestions.  “Away with you, Satan!” he said (NRSV, Matthew 4:10) and the Devil left him alone, but only for a time (Luke 4:13).  He went on fighting against Jesus and in the end used bad men to crucify him, but he never got Jesus to do as he wanted.  And so when Jesus, just before his death on the Cross, cried, “It is finished” (NRSV, John 19:30) (it is completed), that was a shout announcing his victory over the Devil and the Devil’s defeat.  Three days later Jesus was raised from the dead, having conquered not only the Devil but death as well.  So Jesus is alive for evermore and able to help us too.

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