2 March, 2024

Unwelcome Guest

by | 20 November, 2023 | 0 comments

By Doug Redford 

Some time ago, newspapers carried the story of a man who broke into a family’s home in Canton, Ohio. But this man was not your ordinary burglar.  

While the family was asleep, the man popped a screen from a window on the front porch and crawled into the living room. He then helped himself to a leftover chicken dinner, took a swim in the family’s pool, lit a candle in their bathroom, and then proceeded to go to sleep in a guest bedroom. It wasn’t until a woman in the house got up more than two hours later to wake her teenage son for school that she noticed the light on in the guest room. She ran to wake her brother-in-law, who chased the man out of the house. Police later caught him down the street. 

What happened in this house illustrates Satan’s efforts to burglarize and vandalize the world God created. Satan desired to “break into” that “very good” world (Genesis 1:31), use its resources for his own selfish purposes, and turn human beings, made in God’s image, against their Creator. This enemy “who leads the whole world astray” (Revelation 12:9) has instigated such rebellion wherever he has been at work. 

Jesus, however, challenged the devil’s deceitful strategy with his own countermeasure. These are his words in Matthew 12:29: “For who is powerful enough to enter the house of a strong man and plunder his goods? Only someone even stronger—someone who could tie him up and then plunder his house” (New Living Translation). That’s what Jesus did to Satan: “plundered” him by means of the cross so that Satan’s “goods” (people held in bondage to sin) could be set free and empowered to become all God created them to be.  

Satan took what was very good and used it to further his evil purposes; Jesus used something very bad (the cross) to destroy the devil (1 John 3:8) and accomplish God’s holy purpose of salvation.  

At Communion we celebrate Jesus’ victory as guests who have been welcomed to share in a simple but powerful reminder that we now belong to him. Jesus’ victory over Satan is one we can celebrate every Sunday—and during the days in between, as well—for “the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). 

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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