Have you ever seen the picture where Jesus and the devil are arm wrestling? It is a popular image of what many believe takes place between God and the enemy of our souls; the devil. In this picture, both Jesus and the devil are locked eye to eye on each other, and both are in a dead heat in the arm wrestling match as to depict that both are somewhat equal in power. The picture goes on to display the devil as your classic tuff guy, with a face that is squinted in anger, and with arms as big as Dwayne Johnson. Jesus, on the other hand, is depicted as a calm and cool collected super hero, with complete focus on the devil as he strategically anticipates the right opportunity to finally rid the devil in this epic cosmic match.
Can I tell you that this description of Jesus and the devil arm wrestling is complete nonsense! Those Dwayne Johnson arms are a complete fabrication and although the devil loves to “raise hell” as it were in our lives; the truth of the matter is that he was not only defeated at the cross when Jesus died for the sins of his people and rose on their behalf, but he has always been nothing more than a servant of Jesus his entire existence, doing everything the King of all creation tells him to do.
A better image that would more accurately show Jesus’ authority over the devil would be a scared and timid demonic angel of light on his knees asking Jesus for permission to pester the saints of God. In response, Jesus, looking intently into the eyes of a defeated and pathetic servant would permit him to do only what has been ordained by God for the betterment of God’s people and nothing more or less.
The Bible consistently gives its readers an image of God that is always in control over the demonic. For example, In Mark chapter 5 Jesus enters a city where he is confronted by a man who is demonically possessed by a Legion (many) of demons. While everyone else is afraid of these evil spirits, Jesus steps on the scene and demands complete respect from the demonic, as they acknowledge His divinity in saying, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” In response, Jesus commands the evil Spirits to come out of the man and permitting them to enter into a great herd of pigs the demons obeyed God without a fight.
John Gill, in commenting on this text says the following, “He gave them leave, as God did to Satan, in the case of Job; for without divine permission, these evil spirits cannot do any thing to the bodies, souls, or estates of men: they could not enter into the swine without leave, and much less do things of greater moment and consequence; and therefore are not to be feared, or dreaded by men, especially by the people of God.”
Christians do not need to fear the devil. We are commanded to fear God and in doing so being aware of the devil’s schemes, but we are never to fear him in the same way we fear God. Thank God the art depicted in that famous painting of Jesus and the devil arm wrestling is not true nor is it ever promoted in Holy Scripture.
Those who have come to Christ are now under a new leadership and the King of our souls gives us a bold spirit to overcome the tricky plots of the devil. Stand strong in the Lord saints of God, and put on the full armor of God, and in so doing you will be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.