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A cosmic battle in Israel’s desert

A cosmic battle in Israel’s desert

An exceedingly wonderful battle is explained to us in Matthew 4:1-11. 

Shortly before, when Christ was baptized, the heavens opened up above him as if they wanted to descend upon the earth. Immediately after his baptism, hell opened up under Christ and rushed upon him with all its power. 

How wonderful! 

The Son of under-Christ and rushed upon him with all its power. 

How wonderful! 

Victory through the Word

The Son of God in almighty power had once cast Satan out of heaven, but here on earth, he let himself be attacked by him, let himself be led around, sneered at, and ridiculed. He did not conquer Satan, as he very well could have, by one word of his omnipotence, but by the written Word of God. 

He who is the eternal Light battled with the spirit of darkness, the eternal Truth with the spirit of lies, the Most Holy with the spirit of impurity, the King of heaven with the powerless prisoner of hell. 

The Son of God allowed himself to be placed on the pinnacle of the temple and permitted the tempter to demand that he worship him. 

What a wonderful battle!

If Christ had not wanted it, Satan would not have appeared before him, tempted him, and attacked him. But Christ here did not fight for himself. Instead, he fought as surety, as a third party, as a substitute for the entire human race. 

By sin, all people sold themselves to Satan, becoming servants and subjects of his kingdom. Therefore, when Christ wanted to redeem men and save them, he came, as the true owner of all people’s souls, to conquer Satan, to destroy his kingdom, to remove his plunder from him, to free us from his dark power, and to lead us through the kingdom of grace into the kingdom of eternal glory. 

The first battle leading to Satan's ultimate defeat

Christ did this mainly by his bloody death of atonement on the cross for all the sins of the world. By this, the head of the snake was totally crushed and all people were completely redeemed. 

The battle with Satan described in our text was the beginning. It was the first engagement that had to be fought by the Prince of our salvation to trample Satan under his feet and to deal the first deadly wounds to him. It was the first defeat the hellish army had to experience to show them that the Stronger One had now come.    

Source: C.F.W. Walther, American Lutheran theologian. 1811-1887.