If I’m honest, I’ve been feeling a little opposed lately. Not just lately; the last several months honestly. Maybe you’ve been there. Maybe you’re there now. The word opposition means, “the action of opposing, resisting, or combating; antagonism or hostility; a person or group of people opposing, criticizing, or protesting something, someone, or another group”. (Dictionary.com)
Have you felt resistance from someone, something? Have you experienced hostility from someone, felt like you’re being antagonized? Is someone criticizing your every move, opposing all that you’re doing? If so, take heart, because I know one man who experienced all of these feelings. Jesus!
I want us to look at Jesus’ response to his antagonist, Satan. In Luke 4:1-12, Jesus is led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. Satan is an antagonist. Please remember who your real enemy is. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12). An antagonist is, “one that contends with or opposes another; adversary, opponent.” (Merriam-Webster dictionary)
Who does that sound like? Satan! “Be sober, be vigilant; because your ADVERSARY the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) He is our adversary, not our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Going back to the wilderness, Jesus was led there. He didn’t just happen to stumble into the wilderness. It was all part of God’s plan. And we can’t help but just ask why. Why, Lord, am I experiencing this opposition? Why, Lord, am I being resisted?
First of all, Jesus was led there and this took place right after He was baptized and right before His earthly ministry began. “Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and the news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.” (Luke 4:14-15). The next verse begins His first sermon. I mean, think about it, what a way to start a ministry just after being opposed and questioned and antagonized by the adversary, the enemy!
I want us to look at how Jesus responded when being opposed and antagonized. Luke 4:4, “But Jesus answered him, saying, ‘It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’ ” Luke 4:8, “For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ” Luke 4:10-11, “For it is written, ‘He shall give you His angels charge over you, to keep you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ” Luke 4:12, “And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘It has been said, ‘You shall not temp the Lord your God.’ ” Jesus responds to Satan with Scripture! All of His responses are from the Old Testament! If you have time, look them up: (Deut. 8:3; Deut. 6:13; Psalm 91:11-12; Deut. 6:16).
When we look at the six pieces of armor representing the armor of God, the only defensive piece used for battle is the sword. (And by defensive I mean the only piece able to be used to fight back with.) And what does the sword represent? The word of God. “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…” (Eph. 6:17). Jesus fought back His adversary with the Word of God…and we are to do the same.
When you have darts being thrown at you, you are being attacked, you put up that shield of faith, plant those feet in the gospel, and you get a firm grip on that sword and fight back the enemy with the Word of God. He is our defender. He is our protector.
Many times we want to avoid confrontation, we don’t want to call anybody out. Sin is sin. It needs to be addressed. Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:34 that He didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword. And we know what that sword is.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials…” (James 1:2)
“The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble.” (Psalm 9:9)
We looked at how to respond to opposition. We may never fully know the why. But what we do know is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ suffered the ultimate death on the cross by crucifixion. Crucifixion was typically a topic that was avoided because it was so horrific. He suffered and consumed all the pain of sin on the cross. If we have to go through persecution, count it all joy that you get a tiny, slight glimpse of the sufferings Jesus went through and we get to enter into the sufferings of Jesus. May we remember how He responded so we know how to respond when opposition comes our way.
“For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” (1 Peter 3:17)
You tell him, “Not today, Satan!”