The kingdom of darkness
Luke 4: He shut them up, refusing to let them speak because they knew too much.
Following his baptism Jesus is led by the Spirit out to the wilderness where he faces intense testing by the Devil. From this opening act of his ministry it’s clear that Jesus isn’t going to have an easy time of it. Right off he’s severely tested, both spiritually and physically. Obviously, the Tempter knows who Jesus is and he makes every effort to derail the work of Christ before it ever gets underway. The Devil then retreats for a time, waiting for another opportunity. Now Jesus begins his work in earnest. Luke begins the story of our Lord’s ministry in his home town of Nazareth but tells us Jesus is rejected there. Then it’s off to Capernaum, a place that will be blessed by many miracles of Jesus. When our Lord confronts a demon possessed man it’s the demon who speaks, apparently surprised at being confronted by Jesus, God’s Son. Other possessed people are brought to Jesus and he drives the unclean spirits out as they protest their unexpected encounters with the Son of God. Jesus isn’t ready for all this “Son of God” talk and orders them quiet, but Luke reports it to us. I find myself thinking of the nature of what might be thought of as the “kingdom of darkness.” When Jesus goes to the wilderness, the Devil comes to confront him. Clearly, the Devil knows the identity of our Lord. Then, just a short time later, when Jesus begins to challenge demons, they appear surprised by Jesus. Sometimes we tend to think of Satan as the evil opposite of God, but that’s nothing close to the truth. Satan has nothing like the power and authority of God Almighty. He’s isn’t always present and he isn’t in control of anything. In the case of this passage, we see that the demons aren’t like soldiers in his army, taking commands from him. The Devil knows Jesus is beginning his ministry as Son of God, but the demons don’t know it and are surprised when they found themselves face to face with him. I’m not sure what to make of this aside from being reminded that we tend to give Satan more power and authority than he actually has. Beyond that, we see here the absolute authority of the Son of God over all the kingdom of darkness. The Devil and the demons aren’t as big a deal as some think they are. Still, seeing what happens when Jesus confronts this dark kingdom causes me to want to cozy up as close to him as possible.
Take Away: I want to be aware of the kingdom of darkness but not be focused on it.