Is Satan Crushed?

Bible Readings for the day: Psalm 90:11-17, Romans 16:1-27, 1 Chronicles 15:1-16:36
Meditational Reading: Romans 16:20
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

I chuckled as I read today’s meditational reading because I know what happened in Rome; I know what happened to Paul; I know what happened to Peter; I know what happened to other believers; I know what happened to all of them in Rome.  And, from all outward appearances, it sure didn’t look like the God of peace crushed Satan under the Roman Christians’ feet.  Remember what Nero did to the church in Rome after the great fire?  To deflect public criticism and suspicion, Nero blamed the fire upon the Christians and carried out a horrible persecution against them.  Roman believers were arrested, thrown into prisons, and then killed:  some were crucified,

  • some were dowsed in pitch, crucified, lit on fire (while still alive), and they lit the Roman night
  • Christian children were wrapped in sheep and goat skins, brought into the arena, and the wild beasts were let loose upon them
  • Paul was beheaded (the preferred manner of execution for a Roman citizen
  • Peter was crucified upside down

Does it sound like the Roman Christians crushed Satan under their feet?  It doesn’t sound that way to me.  Satan raised his ugly head in an attempt to eradicate Christ’s Church.  He hurt the Church.  He hurt (and killed) individual believers.  But he never destroyed the Church.  He never destroyed the Church because of the second part of today’s meditational reading:  “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”

“Grace”, God’s unearned favor and love, sustained the Roman Church in its time of need.  The Church was bloodied and bruised, but it wasn’t defeated.  The believers maintained their confession of faith in Jesus their God and Savior, and that confession kept and comforted them in their time of need.  The relied on three things in their time of need:

  1. They knew, beyond any and all doubt, that God loved them.  He proved that love on the cross where Jesus paid the total and complete price for the sins they committed.  Through faith in him and his sacrifice made for them, they knew they were in a right relationship with God.  Popular religious belief said that the gods were pleased with you when things were going well for you.  The gods were angry with you when things went bad.  The Roman believers knew that God loved them, even when the popular evidence said he didn’t, because of Jesus and only Jesus and his death and resurrection.
  2. Their God knew what they were experiencing because he personally experienced it himself.  Jesus, truly God from eternity, came into this world, was rejected by humanity, falsely accused of crimes, sentenced to death by the civil officials, he was crucified, died a real physical death, and rose to life again on the third day (that first Easter Sunday).  Jesus knew what they experienced.  He experienced it all himself!
  3. They knew that physical death was not the end of existence, but that life is eternal.  Through faith in Jesus they had the assurance that they would live with him forever, just as he lives forever.  The Roman authorities could take their physical lives, but it couldn’t destroy their eternal life with their Lord and Savior, Jesus!

When the hurts and heartaches of life assault us we are often tempted to wonder whether or not God loves us.  In those times, in those hurts, God the Holy Spirit points us to his Word, the Bible, and the good news that God indeed loves, he will never stop loving us, that we are his and he has proven that to us; he has proven that to us in his one and only Son, Jesus.  Our problem is that we look to outward circumstances for proof of God’s love.  The true God points to one thing, and one thing only, for proof of his love:  the cross and the empty tomb, where God himself paid the price for our sins and bought us back, brought us back, for himself!

A prayer:  Lord God Holy Trinity, we so often look at our circumstances and wonder where you are, wonder if you care, wonder if you love us.  In those times point us to Jesus and his cross and empty tomb for their is the proof of your love for us!  Amen!

Should you wish to access Pastor Kerner’s sermon archive, you can do so at https://gslcsuffield.wordpress.com/2010/12/08/sermon-archive-2010-2011/

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 585 South St. (Route 75), Suffield CT 06078 USA  http://www.gslcsuffield.com  Should you wish to support this ministry, you can mail a check to the church.

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