We Get What He Takes
Monday of Pentecost 6
27 June 2016
"Take what you can get," is an accommodation to our fallen nature. When Satan could not corrupt the Word of God while He wandered in weakness after his baptism, he took what he could get. What he could get was the death of the Son of God, the eternal Word of the Father. But through taking what he could get, Satan got not what was due him, but rather his defeat. He was due power over humanity, which power Adam and Eve placed in his clutches through their doubt of the eternal Word. Ever after we have been in his hands by right.
 
Through the fall we were cast down and through his overweening pride the devil presumed that he had become our better, the foremost creature. While he exhibited this towering pride, the eternal Son of the Father swallowed pride and taking the form of a servant offered himself on the cross unto death. The proud pride was swallowed up by the one who humbled Himself unto death; and in this swallowing, pride's author was likewise swallowed. And so he relinquished his right to us by turning his pride upon the Savior and death was swallowed up by life. We get what the Savior takes.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Augustine of Hippo

"At the beginning of Jesus' ministry, the devil, although striving through every entrance to creep into Jesus' inward parts, was cast out, having finished all his alluring temptation in the wilderness after the baptism (Mt 4:1-11). Being dead in the spirit, he forced no entrance into Him who was alive in the spirit. He betook himself, through eagerness for the death of man in any way whatsoever, to effecting that death which he could. He was permitted to effect it upon that mortal element which the living Mediator had received from us. There in every respect he was conquered.
 
"Where he received outwardly the power of slaying the Lord in the flesh, there his inward power, by which he held us, was slain. For the bonds of many sins in many deaths were unbound through the one death of One whom no sin had gone before. His death, though not due, the Lord rendered for us, that the death which was due might work us no harm. For He was not stripped of the flesh by obligation of any authority, but He stripped Himself. For undoubtedly He who was able not to die if He did not will it, died because He willed it. So He made a show of principalities and powers, openly triumphing over them in Himself (Col 2:15).
 
"By His death the one and most real sacrifice was offered up for us, He cleansed, abolished, extinguished whatever fault there was, through which principalities and powers held us fast as of right to pay its penalty. By His own resurrection He also called us whom He predestined to a new life; and whom He called, those He justified; and whom He justified, those He glorified (Rm 8:30).  And so the devil, in that very death of the flesh, lost man. And this even though the devil was possessing man as by an absolute right, seduced as he was by his own consent, and over whom he ruled (because the devil himself was impeded by no corruption of flesh and blood), through that frailty of man's mortal body, because of which man was both too poor and too weak. The devil, who was proud in proportion as he was, as it were, both richer and stronger, ruled over man who was, as it were, both clothed in rags and full of troubles. For whither he drove the sinner to fall, himself not following, there he compelled the Redeemer following unswervingly to descend.
 
"And so the Son of God deigned to become our friend in the fellowship of death. And because he did not so descend, the enemy thought himself to be better and greater than ourselves. For our Redeemer says, 'Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends' (Jn 15:13). Therefore the devil also thought himself superior to the Lord Himself, inasmuch as the Lord in His sufferings yielded to him; for of Him, too, is understood what is read in Ps 8:5, 'For You have made Him a little lower than the angels.'
 
"He, being Himself put to death, although innocent, by the unjust one acting against us as it were by just right, might by a most just right overcome him. In so doing He led captive the captivity wrought through sin (Eph 4:8), and freed us from a captivity that was just on account of sin, by blotting out the handwriting, and redeeming us who were to be justified although sinners, through His own righteous blood unrighteously poured out."

Augustine, On the Trinity
, 4.13
Matthew 4:1-11

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread."But he answered, "It is written, "' Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
 
Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, "' He will command his angels concerning you,' and 'On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'"
 
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, "All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me." Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, "' You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'" Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.
 
(ESV)
Prayer
Almighty God, heavenly Father, You sent your Son to rescue me from the powerful clutches of Satan who possessed me by right. Grant that I might live in the fellowship of death which He has shared with me, that I might with Him share in the fellowship of life. Amen.
 
For Larry Bless, who is gravely ill, that the Lord who gives strength to the weak would be with him
 
For the faculty of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, that they have the peace that surpasses human understanding in their labors
 
For all the military personnel who are posted in hostile places that they might be kept safe and faithful in their mission
Art: Durer, Albrecht  The Adoration of the Trinity (1515) 
Memorial Lutheran Church
smurray@mlchouston.org
http://www.mlchouston.org
© Scott Murray 2016
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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