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Monday, August 3, 2009

Big John's a'Comin'

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Matthew 28:18 (New American Standard Version)

A tenderfoot had just arrived in a town in the Wild West. He no sooner stepped off the stagecoach than many of the townsfolk came running past him in terror. Weeping women were grabbing their children and hurrying off to hide. One old timer ran past the dude shouting, “You’d better find a good place to hide, Stranger. Big John is a’comin’!” Everyone in town was getting out in a hurry. Instead of running the dude from the East was curious and stepped up on the wooden sidewalk to see what was going to happen. In a few minutes he noticed a large dust cloud heading down the street. As he watched, out of the dust cloud rode a weather beaten old man riding a grizzly bear and using a rattlesnake for a whip. The old man rode the bear up to a water trough, climbed down and dunked his head into the trough, drinking until all the water was gone. After a few moments he looked up, shook water out of his scraggly beard and said with alarm, “You’d better head for the hills, Stranger. Big John’s a’comin’!”

I learned early on in my life that no matter how big and bad someone is there’s always someone who’s tougher. I remember a 4th grade classmate named Roger who took down a 6th grade school bully named Billy. Billy the Bully. All of us kids were scared to death of this bully who routinely terrorized whoever was close enough to make eye contact. He used our fear as a tool toward intimidating us. This one particular day, to our great pleasure, Roger got that big bully into a headlock and held him until the bully started to cry tears and beg for mercy.

I often remember that story when Satan and his power seem to loom too big and too unstoppable. Satan does have limited power yet it is dwarfed by the power of Jesus Christ. Whatever Satan does he does only by the assent and will of God. Satan has been trying for thousands of years to destroy the work of God only to be thwarted at every turn by God’s Wisdom and Eternal Power. Like a bully Satan uses bluster and fear to scare us into discouragement and paralyze us into inaction. While he does have more power than we humans that power can be compared to a match flame in a hurricane compared to the Power of Christ. There is a feeling within the human community that Satan is the equal of Jesus Christ. He is not nor has he ever been. He may be the equal of the archangel Michael but he does not hold power or command anything close to the power and authority of the Son of God. Jesus said all power and authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him. I think the adjective all pretty much sums it up. We can be sure when Satan rides into town in a swirl of dust he’s constantly looking over his shoulder because he knows Jesus is right behind him. Yes, I would say all power and authority pretty much covers it.