1 March, 2024

On Being Targeted

by | 23 October, 2023 | 0 comments

By Doug Redford 

“Targeting” is a prominent area of concern in football nowadays. The word describes a tackle that allegedly “targets” an opponent’s head or neck area. Fears over concussions and subsequent head trauma in players have resulted in penalizing such tackles. In some cases, the penalized player is disqualified from the remainder of the game or the next game.  

Christians have always had a “target” on their backs, if not from the culture, then certainly from Satan. He has not changed since the time that Peter described him as “a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Peter knew that truth all too personally for he had once been addressed as “Satan” by Jesus (Matthew 16:21-23) and had been told by Jesus of Satan’s desire to sift him and his fellow disciples like wheat (Luke 22:31-32). Jesus warned his followers that such targeting would occur. He told his disciples, both then and now, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first” (John 15:18).  

But Jesus had his own targeting to accomplish during his ministry. God alluded to this when he addressed Adam, Eve, and the serpent (Satan’s tool) following the first couple’s act of disobedience in the Garden of Eden. He spoke to the serpent of how the descendant of the woman would eventually “crush your head” (Genesis 3:15), implying a mortal wound (consider it spiritual targeting). This descendant, Jesus, came to inflict that wound. John wrote, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work” (1 John 3:8). That act of destruction occurred, with divine irony, at the very place where it appeared that Jesus’ work had reached a tragic end: at the cross. The writer of Hebrews said that by Jesus’ death he broke “the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil” and also freed “those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrews 2:14-15).   

This brings us to another “target” that Jesus had in mind: lost humanity—including every one of us gathered here. As passionate as Jesus was about destroying one individual (Satan), he was that passionate and more about rescuing countless numbers of the lost (Luke 19:10). At Communion, imagine Jesus’ words in the upper room being “targeted” directly at you: “This is my body given for you” (Luke 22:19). “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (v. 20).  

Doug Redford has served in the preaching ministry, as an editor of adult Sunday school curriculum, and as a Bible college professor. Now retired, he continues to write and speak as opportunities come. 

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