The Scriptorium

The Gospel of Plunder

It's all His, and He's taking it back. Matthew 12.22-29

Matthew 4: Wilderness Victory (6)

Pray Psalm 115.1-3.
Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us,
But to Your name give glory,
Because of Your mercy,
Because of Your truth.
Why should the Gentiles say,
“So where is their God?”
But our God is in heaven;
He does whatever He pleases.

Sing joyfully Psalm 115.1-3.
(Plainfield: Nothing but the Blood of Jesus)
Not to us, O God, not us, but unto Your Name give glory!
For Your love and faithfulness, ever to Your Name be glory!
Why should the nations cry, "Where is their God on high?"
You rule us, Lord, on high: Ever to Your Name be glory!

Read Matthew 4.1-11; 12.22-29; meditate on verses 28, 29

Prepare.
1. How did Jesus describe the condition of the “strong man”? Who is this “strong man”?

2. Given that condition, what did Jesus describe Himself as doing?

Meditate.
Fast forward a bit to somewhere near the middle of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Jesus has been doing amazing things. He has been teaching new and exciting truths. People are flocking to Him from all parts of the region. Some have given up their former lives to follow Him. Lepers are made clean. The sick are restored to health. Winds and waves obey His command. Demons are sent packing. The paralyzed are made whole again. A young girl is raised from the dead. Blind men are given their sight, a mute man speaks, and the religious bosses of the day are humbled and rebuffed.

What’s going on here?

What’s going on is the plundering of Satan’s dominion. The devil thought the kingdoms of the world belonged to him. Jesus was showing him otherwise. In successfully fending off the devil’s temptations, Jesus not only beat him, He bound him. He rendered the devil powerless to stop whatever He wanted to do. And Jesus was doing the kinds of things that said to everyone around, “There’s a new King on the throne, and a new order is being established on earth – the order and rule of heaven.” A new regime of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit had come near and was advancing (Rom. 14.17, 18). When we pray for this (Matt. 6.10), and as we seek the Kingdom of God in everything we do (Matt. 6.33), we are carrying forward the Lord’s work of plundering the devil’s domain, and restoring everything to its rightful Owner.

Jesus explained His ability to cast out demons was the result of His having bound the “strong man”. Now He was about the business of taking back from the devil’s temporary possession everything that rightly belonged to Him. The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it (Ps. 24.1). The Good News of Jesus Christ is a Gospel of plunder – liberating everything in our lives, and throughout all creation, and taking all things captive for obedience to Jesus Christ. The devil is still active, stalking about in spiritual chains, like some old Marley who can only intimidate, but not really hurt; and straining at the Lord’s leash, Who keeps a firm hold on where he can go and what he can do. As long as we keep our distance from him, and stay on the path marked out for us by the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, there’s nothing the devil can do to keep us from bringing life and hope and renewal to everything and everyone in our lives.

The strong man is bound. Your Personal Mission Field and everything in it have been reconciled to God. Now get out there and plunder, by the grace and truth of the Gospel, for the glory of God and His Kingdom!

Reflect.
1. Why is Jesus’ triumph through the temptations of the devil of such enormous significance?

2. How did Jesus show that the devil no longer has any power wherever He exerts His will?

3. What do we mean by a “Gospel of plunder”? How does this relate to your calling in your Personal Mission Field?

And here Jesus’ saying seems to me to encompass a prophecy. For not only, I suppose, are the evil spirits the possessions of the devil but also the human beings that are doing Satan’s works. Therefore he intends not only to cast out devils but also to drive away error from the world. He is putting down all sorceries and making the devil’s arts useless.
John Chrysostom (344-407), The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 41.3

Lord, rule through me in my Personal Mission Field, so that the righteousness, peace, and joy of Your Kingdom may…

Pray Psalm 115.9-18.
Give yourself anew and completely to Jesus, and prepare to go forth in His Name, conquering and to conquer, and plundering the former domain of Satan, wherever you encounter it in your Personal Mission Field.

Sing Psalm 115.9-18.
Psalm 115.9-18 (Plainfield: Nothing but the Blood of Jesus)
All who trust in Jesus yield – ever to His Name be glory! –
find in Him their help and shield – ever to Your Name be glory!
O Israel, trust the Lord!  He helps us evermore!
Fear Him obey His Word: Ever to Your Name be glory!

Blessings from our gracious Lord – ever to Your Name be glory –
will attend us evermore – ever to Your Name be glory!
Bless all who fear You, Lord, all who obey Your Word,
all who Your Name adore: Ever to Your Name be glory!

Grant us, Savior, great increase – ever to Your Name be glory!
Bless us with eternal peace – ever to Your Name be glory!
Heaven and earth are Yours; let every soul adore
and bless You evermore: Ever to Your Name be glory!

T. M. Moore

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Satan Bound: A Theology of Evil, can help you to understand more completely the magnitude and importance of Matthew 4.1-11. Order your copy by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from
The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006). All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (available by clicking here).

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore