The Gospels – Bound and Plundered
Jesus called them over and responded with an illustration. “How can Satan cast out Satan?” he asked. “A kingdom divided by civil war will collapse. Similarly, a family splintered by feuding will fall apart. And if Satan is divided and fights against himself, how can he stand? He would never survive. Let me illustrate this further. Who is powerful enough to enter the house of a strong man and plunder his goods? Only someone even stronger—someone who could tie him up and then plunder his house.” Mark 3:23-27 NLT
The battle between good and evil is not a passive one. Jesus likens it to a strong man protecting his goods and someone even stronger coming in, binding the strong man, and plundering his house. Jesus used stories people could envision or relate to at some level to demonstrate a larger truth. In this case, the parable demonstrates the spiritual violence that took place when Christ came to earth.
Healing the lame and giving sight to the blind don’t seem like acts of violence. Raising the dead and forgiving sins doesn’t seem like theft, they seem like just the opposite. But think about what is going on behind the physical realm in each of those lives. Satan has a person in his thorny grasp and Jesus comes along and snatches them away from the evil one. Restoring their lives. Jesus rolled through Satan’s ranks like a tank. Violence.
So as Jesus walked quietly and humbly through the region, teaching and ministering to people, spiritual violence was rampant, He had come into the strong man’s house, the fallen creation, and was wreaking havoc in what Satan thought was his private domain.
Ultimately, the battle led to Calvary and the crucifixion of Christ. Death, having entered the world through sin, and become the most fearsome weapon of the god of this age, now held the Savior. But it could not bind Him, and Jesus took the opportunity of His own death to violently loose the prisoners of the grave that had died before Him, declaring His victory and lordship over death, hell and the grave. And He rose again. Alive on the third day, the greatest demonstration of spiritual violence ever committed, as He broke the chains of death and left them behind, defeated, powerless.
But please note, Jesus wasn’t demonstrating how we can defeat the enemy in our generation when He lived, died, and rose again. On the contrary, He was accomplishing it for us! His victory was once and for all.
Satan has been bound and plundered. Past tense. It’s done. He’s cooked.
But wait, to say evil no longer exists would be ludicrous. Evil tacticians of meaness, division, and violence are rampant in the world today. They always have been. Even right after Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to heaven, evil emperors of Rome rose up and sought to quell the rise of Christianity through persecution and execution. And evil regimes to this day do the same thing.
But the real battle, the war, the ultimate victory, has already been won. The Son of God won the war, and has given us the commission of bringing the Good News of His victory to the world, where good triumphs over evil through the disarming love, mercy and kindness of God in Jesus Christ.
And when people see, with unveiled eyes, the glory and light of the Gospel, and see Jesus for who He really is, see that they are unbound and free – they can walk away from the grasp of the enemy into newness of life. Because Jesus already won their liberty. Satan is bound and plundered. Once you realize this truth you are invincible and free. And who the Son sets free, is free indeed.