The Power of Darkness

arrest of Jesus, darkness, light No Comments

In Luke 22:53, Jesus states to those who had come to arrest Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, “When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me; but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”  Jesus spoke these words to the chief priests and elders and captains of the temple who came to arrest Him.  He understood the significance of the moment.  His time had come.  The forces of evil were converging in this historic moment and He would soon face death by crucifixion.
The Foe
The evil forces at work in this world as listed by Paul in Ephesians 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
The foes we face are spiritual in nature.  Satan and his angels (Matt. 25:41) form part of this evil force.  If the warfare is spiritual, then the weapons must also be spiritual in nature to fight against it (II Cor. 10:4-6; Eph. 6:10-18).  This evil force is organized.  Paul mentions principalities and powers which refer to the various dominions of evil.  He mentions the rulers (plural) of the darkness of this world which refers to Satan and his allies.  The foe is a powerful evil force.  Powerful, but yet limited.  Satan’s powers are limited by God.  Satan cannot coerce people to sin.  Also, he does not share ultimate authority with God.  Satan is always depicted in Scripture as being in subjection to God’s power.  The power that he exerts is evil or wicked.  He opposes truth and righteousness.  He is the father of lies (John 8:44) and he tempts people to commit all manner of sinful acts.  The existence of this foe is proof that there is objective evil in the world.  The enemy of truth and righteousness is knowable.  He is revealed by God through God’s holy Word.  We can know Satan’s methods of operation.  Finally, Satan does not do his work alone.  He has individuals (ministers) who, being deceived, help carry out his evil schemes (II Cor. 11:14-15).  Jesus finds Himself in the midst of an evil scheme to take His life.  Judas would betray Him.  The chief priests and elders would have Him arrested.  The scheme was diabolical and effective.
The Force
The arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane was the culmination of the conspiracy made between Judas and the chief priests and elders among the Jews (Matt. 26:14-16).  Judas, a friend and apostle of Jesus, betrayed Him for 30 pieces of silver.  Judas was a thief (John 12:4-6).  He was covetous and selfish.  Satan was working in his heart.  The chief priests and elders were religious leaders among the Jews.  They also permitted Satan to use them.  In Matt. 27:18, we are told that they delivered Jesus because of envy.  They generated lies about Jesus accusing Him of blasphemy because He claimed to be the Son of God and of insurrection because He claimed to be a king.  Jesus was the Son of God and He was and is the King of kings! Later, the governor of Judea, Pilate, would condemn Jesus to death even though after examination, he could find no fault in Him.  Pilate proved unjust and acted to do what was politically expedient.  Satan was working in his heart too.  Evil converges through a friend and disciple, religious rulers, political figures and the people controlled by them.  This convergence of evil in the hearts of men found its object in Jesus Christ.
The Fortification
How did Jesus handle this moment?  He was fully aware of what was transpiring (spiritually aware).  He knew the enemy and how he worked.  He recognized the power of darkness in the people who had betrayed him and were arresting Him. Jesus committed Himself to Him that judges righteously (I Pet. 2:23).  He trusted God.  He trusted in the Word of God.  He remained true to Himself.  He did not became like his enemies in order to defeat them.  His speech was pure and his conduct righteous.  He manifested meekness, self-control, love, and forgiveness (I Pet. 2:22).  He sacrificed Himself for the higher purpose of saving mankind from sin (I Pet. 2:24).  He fulfilled the noble purpose for which He came into this world.  Jesus knew that He would ultimately prevail.  He had the promise of God that “he could lay down his life and take it up again” (John 10:16-18).  Jesus would destroy the power of Satan (Heb. 2:14).  The power of darkness is shattered by the power of light!
Will you come to the light? (John 3:18-21).  While men love darkness rather than light, the power of God’s love can overcome the darkness in the human heart and through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, we can be reconciled to God and walk in the light as He is in the light!