Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Wounded Hand of Grace

              The insidious plan was hatched before recorded history, long before man and woman were created and given a place in the garden.  In the heart of one close to the Father there festered wickedness too sinister to comprehend, too vile to imagine. His beauty covered the dank hollows of monstrous intention that lurked just beneath the surface. It was not enough that this enemy of purity and love choose to challenge perfection; he needed followers to complete his plan.  A rebellion was formed on the Holy Mountain of God. This foe of the Devine deceived by his own beauty chose to challenge the power and might of the creator of the Universe. Known as the angel of light and the father of lies, he had eons to prepare the subtleties needed to fool those created in God’s image. The lie that Satan delivered was ripe with insinuation and designed to strike at the very heart of God.  Man was fooled, sin and death were ushered into the world; Satan’s plan was born.
This creature called Satan mastered the ability to twist facts leaving out truth and present them in beautiful packages that contained death and destruction. He has been portrayed as ugly and sinister, but the opposite is true. He is beautiful and at times irresistible. He comes to mankind bringing the hope of all our dreams.  He is able to deceive the most devout of humans. He comes as friend and confidant, but when he leaves; his subjects are reduced to shuddering, helpless souls.  His shadow and influence are seen through the Old Testament deceiving man and destroying lives. He was there as Cain killed his brother Abel out of jealousy and personal pride.  He was at the tower of Babel goading and encouraging those in charge to reach out and touch God, to be like God.  He was there in the Palace as King David lusted after Bathsheba, and eventually murdered her husband to cover his sins.
The choking dust of his footprints can be traced all of the way through history until he emerges to confront the Son of the Living God. Jesus was his intended target all along. All those that he tormented and attacked throughout the pages of history were in the linage of the Christ. He did all he could to stop the incarnation of God but failed. He was now forced to meet the Son of Man face to face in a showdown. After the heavens had opened and Jesus was declared the Son of God, He faced assault from the serpent. The enemy used the same plan of attack that was launched upon the first Adam. However second Adam did not yield to temptation; He came out of the wilderness as victor over temptation, demonstrating the way to defeat the enemy. The liar came at the living God of the universe in three ways. He tried to bring doubt against the Fathers goodness and care; he tempted Christ to presume upon the Fathers power; he tempted Christ to alienate the Fathers honor by giving it to him.  Our Savior returned the opening salvo with “man shall not live by bread alone”. The temptation to call upon the power of God in vain was met with “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God”. Jesus ended the period of temptation by placing the enemy at his back and responding with “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God and Him only shalt thou serve”
Soundly defeated the serpent slithered back into the shadows, beaten yes, discouraged no.  His treachery was set on a deeper track. Mere temptation was not enough; the Heir to the throne of glory must be eliminated. The road to the cross was cleared as Satan penetrated the wicked hearts of Jewish religious leaders. The words of life singed and burnt the ears of the selfish Godless men who ran the temple. The smell of death came to them as the precious Son of God put them in their places and pointed the way to salvation. Jesus presented the way of life on the bottom shelf where it was accessible to those with the faith of children. Jesus words confounded the wisdom of the wise as He only asked for faith, not accomplishment. Bitter angry men plotted his destruction, but as in everything else it came in Gods time.
When the time came for the Son of God to sacrifice himself for all mankind, He demonstrated again how to be victorious in the face of tumultuous terror and turmoil. He went silently to the Garden and prayed. Jesus prayed honestly and fervently, asking if it be possible, this dreaded cup of death would pass from his lips. The benediction to his time of prayer was “Not my will but thine be done”. Satan squatted on the fringes of hell rubbing his hands with nervous anticipation as the noose of death tightened around the neck of the Savior. Beaten, lied to, lied about, betrayed, and tortured Christ drug the rugged, bloody cross up to the hill of the skull. The rusted spikes tore into the flesh of his hands and feet. The cross was dropped into the hole ripping the flesh and bringing a cry of anguish.
The old serpents plan had worked. Turning the piety of the religious against the Creator of the universe, it was so simple, and diabolically clever. Satan cackled with delight as the Son of Man bled and died on a Roman hillside.  But the triumph was short lived as the gates of hell burst open and the Son of Man appeared in the fiery raiment’s of a conquering General leading ten thousand angels.  The shouts from earth could be heard above the battle below, “He’s alive” rang up and down the hill side. Death was conquered, the plague of sin had been broken, grace was alive and well. From that day fourth The evil one could only whisper in the ear of man, because the spell of sin had been broken by the risen Savior. Come to Him the King of Glory. The hand of grace had been wounded, see the scars, but the wounds are the proof of his love.  Come to the cross today and lay your burdens down, trust Jesus as your savior. The work has been done.  
 Ezekiel 28:12-15; Isaiah 14:12-14; Deuteronomy 6:13; Matthew 4:1-11; 1Corinthians 15:55

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