There is a great difference between the love of power and the power of love. We see this difference in the Story of Jesus Christ. In Christ, we see the power of love. In those who opposed Christ, we see the love of power. This contrast between the power of love (Jesus) and the love of power (the enemies of our Lord Jesus Christ) can be seen from the very beginning of His Story.
In Jesus' birth, we see the love of God and the power of God. Jesus' birth was a mighty demonstration of God's power. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. He was born of the Virgin Mary. The birth of Jesus - This was God at work in mighty power. Jesus' birth was the supreme demonstration of God's love. Jesus brings God's love to us. He is God with us. In Jesus, we see the power of love, the love of God.
The birth of Christ brought a terrible reaction from the evil king, Herod. His terrible reaction was motivated by the love of power. Herod was the king. He didn't want his power to be threatened by this Baby who had been born at Bethlehem. In love with his own power, Herod tried to do away with Jesus. He failed - but what a cost there was for other babies and families in Bethlehem. The love of power is a terrible thing. Thank God that the power of love has not been defeated by the love of power. Thank God that the power of love will not be defeated by the love of power.
In Jesus' baptism and temptations, we see the same thing again. In Jesus, we see the power of love. He is God's beloved Son. He is filled with the power of God's Spirit. Jesus' baptism was followed by His temptations. The temptation to do evil comes from Satan, a fallen angel who was so fascinated by the love of power that he tried to put himself in the place of God. He failed - but what a cost there has been in human lives, brought to ruin by Satan. When we think of Satan's love of power, we are filled with fear. When, however, we think of the power of Christ's love, we are filled with joy. Satan has faileed to defeat our Lord. Jesus Christ, our Saviour, has triumphed. He has won the victory over Satan. The conflict between Christ and Satan continues - but it is not a batle between equals and there is no doubt about the final outcome. Christis Lord. The victory belongs to Christ.
The contrast between the love of power and the power of love - This is what we have in the conflict between Jesus and the evil spirit which had taken control of the poor man in the synagogue.
Jesus was teaching God's Word with "authority" (Luke 4:32). The power of love was at work among the people when Jesus brought the Word of God to them. The power of Jesus was not, however, the only power at work in the synagogue that day. There was also the power of Satan. In Satan, we see something very different from the power of Christ's love. In Satan, we see the love of power. He will try to take control of our hearts and lives just like he took control of the man who shouted out in the synagogue.
This miracle in the synagogue - the victory of Christ over Satan in the liofe of the demon-possessed man - highlights the whole purpose of Christ's coming to our world: "The Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil" (1 John 3:8). In this miracle in the synagogue, we catch a glimpse of Christ's final victory over Satan. Satan will be utterly and completely defeated. Christ's triumph will be an absolute and total triumph.
While we are here on earth, there will always be conflict. we cannot get away from this. Satan is very busy. He is doing all that he can to keep men and women from coming to Jesus Christ, putting their faith in Him, following Him, dedicating their lives to Him.
The Bible speaks to us of Christ's victory over Satan by pointing us back to the past. Christ won the victory over Satan when he died and rose again for us. It speaks also of Christ's victory over Satan by pointing us forward to the future. When Christ returns in great power and glory, His victory will be seen in all its completeness. Between the past - Christ's death and resurrection - and the future - Christ's coming again in great power and glory, there is the present - here and now. It is in the present, in the here and now, that we are to win the victory over Satan in the strength of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.
By faith, we are to claim the victory, won for us by our Lord Jesus Christ when He died on the Cross for us, when he rose victorious from the grave. By faith, we are to begin to enter into Christ's victory over Satan, which will be seen, in all its fullness, when He comes again, at the end of time, to establish God's eternal Kingdom.
How are we to claim the victory Christ won for us? How are we to enter into the victory into which He is calling us? We are to put our faith in Him. Trusting in Christ means trusting in His Word and trusting in His power. We learn about trusting in Christ, as we look at the reaction of the people to Christ's great miracle in the synagogue - "All the people were amazed and said to each other, 'What is this teaching? With authority and power He gives orders to evil spirits and they come out" (Luke 4:36). Here, we have Jesus' teaching, Jesus' authority and Jesus' power. We trust in His teaching. We receive His Word. It is the Word of love, which brings salvation to us. We trust in His power. We believe that he is able to do great things in and through us. We trust in His authority. This is our confession of faith. Jesus is Victor. This is the faith oupon which we must take our stand. Let's live by faith and walk in victory, and may news of Christ's love spread throughout the surrounding area (Luke 4:37).