In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house. ( Mark 3:27)
Is Jesus giving advice on how to rob someone’s house?
Jesus didn’t say this so criminals could read it and think, “Hmm, I knew I was doing something wrong. I have to tie the guy up first THEN rob the house. Let me try that next time.”
Most commentators suggest Jesus is giving another analogy to prove he wasn’t driving out demons by the power of Satan. If he didn’t have power over Satan, he couldn’t “rob” Satan’s house, i.e. free someone from the power of the demons.
Jesus’ work was to free people from the power of Satan and the bondage to sin. The writer to the Hebrews put it this way:
Hebrews 2:14 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.
Jesus was proving that he had power over Satan by driving out demons from people.
Jesus came to destroy Satan and his influence in people’s lives.
The Apostle Paul said it this way: (Ephesians 6:10-12)
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Satan is the enemy…but sometimes in the church we make each other the enemy. We let a difference of opinion lead us to think less of a person. We lose our patience with a member who asks a lot of questions. We avoid a person who seems to always ignore us. We misjudge motives and put the worst construction on someone’s actions.
Satan is the common enemy we share. Not each other. He is working in all of these and many other ways to disrupt and divide the work of the Gospel. If he can get us divided against one another the Gospel ministry suffers.
So with God’s help, let’s bind up the strong man, Satan, first in our own hearts to more fully love God and love people. Let’s let the power of the Spirit help us to see the common enemy is Satan and his influence in my heart and the hearts of others.
Unity comes when we understand our common enemy. The Church is the working of God to spread the Gospel to the defeat of Satan. The gates of hell cannot stop it.
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. (Matthew 16:15-18)
Apply: What influence have you seen in your heart and in your church of the influence of Satan at work? Pray for God to help you overcome that influence and help the situation in your church to do the same.
Prayer: Lord God, thank you for binding the strength of Satan and giving us and your Church the power of your name to overcome the influence of Satan in our hearts, our homes, and our churches. AMEN