Jesus is the Deliverer and Rescuer of the world.
The scribes who came from Jerusalem were saying of Jesus “He is possessed by Beelzebul, by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” 3:22-23.
“How can Satan cast out Satan?” – Jesus begins the logical argument of how and why would Satan cast out Satan? For one, it doesn’t make any sense and Satan fighting against himself would make his throne significantly weaker.
Jesus explains it in a parable:
“If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but its coming to an end.”
Jesus elaborates further on his point about Satan casting out Satan: kingdoms and homes, divided against each other, cannot stand. This is both logical and historical. We see throughout history the validity of this parable in our experiences. When there is mutiny in the camp, or on the boat, disaster soon follows. The same is true here. Jesus cannot logically be of Satan, because Satan divided would be weaker.
Verse 27 can be confusing for interpretation. But I say with confidence that the strong man is referring back to Satan. It reads “But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.”
If Satan in fact is the strong man, Jesus is telling his adversaries his intentions to bind Satan and free the world from its slavery to sin. I don’t know that his audience realizes this initially.
We can draw at least two conclusions come from this parable. Jesus is not in collusion with Satan and Jesus is the deliverer and rescuer of the souls of humankind.
A question we may be asking is how and when does Jesus tie the hands of the strong man? Jesus ties the hands of Satan when he goes to the cross and offers us forgiveness of sin. Satan’s grip on humanity is our addiction and slavery to sin. Jesus on the cross provides atonement for that sin and frees us from it all at the same time.
I think its important to realize what enables Jesus to forgive us and free us.
How Jesus bound the hands of Satan was when he was tempted in the wilderness and later in the garden of Gethsemane facing temptation. When Jesus faced the temptation of the evil one and remained faithful he overcame the ploys of the evil one. Satan’s ploys have captured every man before and after Jesus. But it didn’t work on Jesus because Jesus is more powerful than Satan. Jesus overcame the temptation of the evil one and showed that Satan had no power over him. Jesus was human in every way and remained faithful to God. Jesus' faithfulness puts him in a unique position to go into the house of Satan, bind his hands and feet and take for his Father the spoils of victory, the souls of men.
What matters most from this text is this: Jesus has provided for humanity a way out of the grips of the evil one. Satan’s hands are still tied and the name that binds them is the name of Jesus. The name of Jesus may overcome the most powerful of demons. The name of Jesus frees men and women enslaved to the evil one because of their sin. The name of Jesus is the name of deliverance. That’s the point. Jesus is the forgiver of souls and redeems and saves humankind. All people may be saved and be reconciled back to their heavenly Father because Jesus is more powerful than the evil one.
Jesus isn’t satisfied with only tying the hands of the strong man; he ransacks his house and saves us. Call on the name of Jesus, for he is the Savior of the world.
Heavenly Father, you have made possible through your Son, Jesus Christ atonement and freedom from sin. I know that every person to ever live sinned, except for one, my deliverer, Jesus. I praise you and thank you for him. may my life make known to others that freedom and eternal life made available in him. I ask this in the powerful name above all names, Jesus, amen.
Jordan Ickes, Minister of Etna Green Church of Christ.