JESUS THE PLUNDERER
In the Bible, God tells us lots of helpful things: don't murder, don't steal, be kind to one another. But here's one you may not have expected: in Matthew 12:29, Jesus tells us that if we want to plunder someone's house, we should tie them up first.
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.
At first this seems crazy! I mean, I thought Jesus was on about love, not break-and-enter! But when we look at the context of this verse, we see what Jesus means. A few verses earlier, we meet a demon-possessed man. And Jesus healed him by driving the evil spirits out (Matthew 12:22). This helps us understand what Jesus was saying. The possession Jesus plundered wasn't a VCR, new sneakers, or even a donkey. It was the demon-possessed man. And the way Jesus plundered him, was by driving the evil spirits (strong man) out.
Now I don't know if you've met someone demon-possessed like this man. I don't believe I have. But this still has an application for us today. Because later in the Bible (Hebrews 2:14-15) we read the shocking truth that we are all, in a sense, enslaved by the devil.
Since the children [human beings] have flesh and blood, he [Jesus] too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death that is, the devil and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death
The devil enslaves us by our fear of death. He knows that one day we'll have to face God's judgment, and the devil's job is to accuse us of all we've ever done wrong. It's terrifying. But Jesus is a plunderer, who came to bind up strong-man-Satan and plunder us from his power.
How did he do that? Well, he became a human just like us, so that by his death he might break the power of the devil. It was when Jesus died on the cross for our sins, that he broke the devil's power. So now, when a Christian dies and faces God's judgment, the devil has nothing to accuse us of; Jesus has already taken the punishment for all the wrong we've ever done, said or thought. The devil has been bound, and we are now free from our slavery to him. We have been plundered by Jesus!
Spend some time talking to God (praying)
- Thank Jesus for coming into the world, and dying to plunder us from the fear of death.
- If there's anything you don't understand, ask God to help you understand it or lead you to someone who can help (like a Christian friend, a parent, or a youth leader).
Read Hebrews 2:14-18 again.
- How does this passage comfort people who are afraid of death?
- What hope does verse 18 give us, when we are suffering and tempted to sin?