joyful destroyer

The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work (1 John 3:8).

Destroyer. I’ve never thought of Jesus as a destroyer.  Destruction is pretty much the devil’s domain. Yet John tells us that Jesus came to earth to “destroy the devil’s work.”

Let’s face it. The devil likes to sin. He’s been “sinning from the beginning” (1 John 3:8).  His diabolical mission is to “kill, steal, and destroy” (John 10:10) and his handiwork includes death, disease, strife, hatred, and all the miseries known to man.

I imagine that Jesus felt triumphant after  He defeated the devil. The writer of Hebrews tells us it was for “the joy set before him that Jesus endured the cross…” (Hebrews 12:2).

The concept of Jesus as a “joyful destroyer” came alive for me the other day as I headed out for my usual jog around the neighborhood.  I had spent my morning quiet time reflecting on this passage, from 1 John 3, especially verse 8: “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”  I found myself repeating this verse over and over in my mind (this is called meditation) as I headed out for my run.

As I rounded the corner, I noticed a pickup truck stopped at the end of the long driveway we share with a few other families. Two workers had gotten out of the truck to inspect what appeared to be a tire in the middle of our driveway.  As I jogged closer, I was struck by a sickening realization.  The object was not a tire but a very large snake. And did I mention? I HATE snakes!

The older of the two gentlemen proceeded to grab a rake out of the back of his pickup and strike the snake sharply on the head. The beast reared up and hissed.  Ugh.  I could swear the man was smiling as he whacked the snake again and again into the next kingdom.

He finally put the snake out of its misery and held up his trophy to display its full length (four or five feet).  And then he looked at me and laughed.  “That old snake was just waiting to get those little legs.”  Mr. Truesdale was the man’s name, and I could tell he enjoyed the rescue immensely. I could have hugged him.

I continued my run and kept thinking about how much joy Jesus must have felt when he defeated his enemy, the “ancient serpent” as he’s called in the book of Revelation (20:2).

Jesus also destroyed death, the devil’s major work. In so doing, He brought eternal life to you and to me and to all who would believe in Him. This is the victory that brought Him the greatest  joy.  It brings me joy, too, for it means I will live with Him forever.

Pray now and ask God to show you someone who needs to hear about Jesus today.  I pray for just the right opportunity for you to share this Good News.


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