INI + AMEN.
The Word. It doesn’t seem like much. Just words on a page. Ink and paper. Pretty simple nowadays. But now we’ve progressed beyond paper. The Word can now displayed on screens of various sizes and shapes. But no matter how the Word meets you, it’s still the Word. It can be read aloud or silently, spoken from memory or read nose in the book. It can even be taken to heart, but—no matter how it engages you—the Word has power.
Jesus, the Word made flesh, goes toe to toe with the devil. The devil has his word, and Jesus has His. Now, we know this from own experience with the devil and temptation, but, through our Gospel lesson, we see that the devil can be called “master of a thousand arts.” (Large Catechism: Preface, 12) But we can also see that Word-made-flesh Jesus uses the written Word, which really is His Word, and He “drives away and brings to nothing this master of a thousand arts…The Word must indeed be the master of more than a hundred thousand arts.” (LC: Preface, 12)
[3. The devil’s out to destroy you.]
The devil has his word. Now, I’ve first gotta say that the devil is real. As the Scriptures teach, he’s an angel that was created holy by God, but, out of pride, he rebelled. Now, the father of lies works against the Father of Lights who sent His Light-of-the-World Son into the world to bring it out of darkness into His marvelous light.
The devil has his word, and the devil is out to get you. He’s out to destroy you. He wants you to jettison God’s Word for his word—really, for your own word. That’s our Old Testament lesson! “Did God actually say you can’t eat? Well, you won’t surely die.” Then Adam and Eve trusted their own thoughts and senses, and turned away from Yahweh and His Word, and we, as their descendants, do the exact same thing.
We’ve got our own ideas about God and how He works. We’ve got our own feelings about things, and we like that arrangement. If something feels right or good, then it must be! Just like Adam and Eve. The devil’s subtle, and he can even try to use the Word against you. He did with Eve; He did with Jesus. It’s all the devil’s tricks and lies to get us to trust not “in God who raises the dead,” but to lead us down the wide road to destruction.
The devil has his word, and the devil tried to get Jesus. He tried all the same tricks that He did with Adam. He tempted Jesus. He twisted the word. He tried to get Jesus to not be the Savior. “You don’t need to die. Just worship me and the world is Yours.”
[2. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.]
Yes, the devil tried to get Jesus, too. But Jesus came to destroy the Works of the devil. The devil trying to get Jesus is like the bully who successfully beat up the younger brother and who then tries the same thing with the older brother who’s on steroids. It’s just not going to work. Jesus is the true Son. As the Father said at His Baptism, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” The devil tries to get Jesus to doubt this, but Jesus is “God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God” and can’t be fooled. Why? Jesus has His Word.
Jesus comes. He’s the new Israel. He’d been in Egypt, then He endures temptation in the wilderness not for 40 years but 40 days and nights. He endures it all for you. Where we fail in temptation, where our hearts turn from the Lord and His Word, Jesus never did. He wouldn’t be turned away from it; it’s His Word. The Word can’t be twisted to confuse Him; Jesus wrote it! He will be the Savior, He will die, nothing will deter Him. He won’t deny Who He is (the Son), and He won’t not die for the world.
Where Adam and Eve failed, where Israel failed, where we fail, Jesus never did. He defeats the devil and His kingdom. Jesus has His Word to do it. He bests the devil at every turn. Later when the devil may have thought He had Jesus, Jesus was winning. When Jesus took back the kingdoms of the earth and their glory, He was to all appearances unglorified, but Jesus dying on the cross was His final and ultimate victory.
[1. He delivers you from the devil, too.]
Jesus has His Word, and that’s how He still continues to defeat the devil in the here and now. Like a light scatters roaches, so also Jesus’ Word sends the devil running. His Word drowns the devil just like pharaoh. His Word bars the gates of hell and opens heaven’s for you—like last Wednesday, or every Thursday. His Word makes it so you’re bodied and blooded together with Him. His double-edged Word cuts the devil down. That’s Jesus’ Word.
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. This is why we have the Scriptures. But we don’t think so, do we? We think we do live by bread alone, by the pleasures and wants of this life. But the glory of this world is just a mirage. Yes, we’re in the wilderness in this life, we’ve all got our problems, our struggles, our stresses, and we think that more pleasure or work will get a better outcome. But true life and peace come from the Word.
It’s the devil’s lie that we don’t really need the Word that much. That we can put off the Word until tomorrow. That the only way we’ll read the Word is if we feel something. That we can reach a point where we “can know it all.”
But Jesus gives us the Word to defeat the devil, to drive him away, to silence Him. We ought to make time for the Word: to read it, to study it. “They are the Words of eternal life.” Whether we’re deep in them or skipping on the top, whether we’re well versed in them or just a little—it doesn’t matter. Through the Scriptures Jesus defeats the devil today and everyday until the Last Day.
At every turn Jesus silenced the devil with the Word, and finally
JESUS’ WORD SENDS THE DEVIL AND HIS WORD PACKING.
“Be gone, Satan”—“I’m going to die to save the world.” “Be gone, Satan”—“It is finished.” “Be gone, Satan”—“I have risen from the dead.”
But even today! Even for you! “Be gone, Satan”—“I baptize you.” “Be gone, Satan”—“I forgive you.” “Be gone, Satan”—“Take, eat; take, drink: My body and blood.” “Be gone, Satan”—“It is written.”
The devil has His Word, but Jesus has his, and in every Word of Jesus, there’s Jesus sending the devil and his word packing.
INI + AMEN.