:the mind, the Church, the principalities
As I reflect this Easter season on Matthew 26-28, I try to think of how Jesus felt knowing that the Cross is about to happen. How did He interact with His friends, knowing their betrayal? How did He treat Judas, knowing he “priced” Him just at 30 coins?…..
We all know the place where Jesus was crucified was called Golgotha, which in the native tongue means “the place of skulls”. I am re-reading the last few chapters in each Gospel and I realize that the battle has begun way before Golgotha, the place of skulls. In fact, the battle has begun right there, in the skull – THE BATTLE OF THE MIND. Matthew 26 begins with Jesus having a meal with His closest friends. They have an incredible time together, they all pledge their loyalty (Matthew 26:33-35). Jesus knows the Cross is before Him; it’s getting really close and He has a chance to back out !!! This is their final meal together, excruciating pain is ahead, and Jesus needs a moment alone. Things begin to go through His mind, the images and the Cross.
Jesus is going to Gethsemane, the garden where He can be alone. He brings His closest three friends and asks them to pray while they are waiting .
The BATTLE OF THE MIND is becoming so intense. He asks the Father to make this cup pass. The Scripture says that He became exceedingly sorrowful and in deep agony, so much that He started sweating blood. This battle is not light, some fierce war took place in His Mind, even the angels came down to minister to Him. Jesus ends His prayer, “but not My will, but Yours be done, Father !”
He gets up and walks outside to see His friends having fallen asleep. He urges them to stay awake and pray!
Next battle just begun – the CHURCH. The people that are Your own, those who just pledged their loyalty to You an hour or so ago are now failing to stay awake and pray. Another strike and He sees Judas leading the officers to Him, another strike and ALL His disciples flee the scene.
Now the mockery, the beating and humiliation are in full force. The Son of God in a pool of His own blood, beaten to the point of not even looking human anymore. He has the power and authority to stop this all at once, but He keeps moving forward; for the joy set before Him, He endures the Cross and despises the shame (Hebrews 12:1-2). The King is on the Cross, bearing my sin and my death and my sickness, deeply wounded and betrayed to GIVE ME THE VICTORY! He overcomes all three war zones so that I can become victorious today !
You see, we are enduring the same three battles – the mind , the church and the principalities and we can be victorious in all three! How?
1. Battle of the mind. Take time to read these verses 1 Cor 2:16; Romans 12:2; Philippians 2:5. Satan can no longer use our mind as a play ground! We can have our stinking thinking renewed and transformed and have the mind of Christ! What does this mean? We don’t have to be defeated by fears, doubts and unbelief! 1 Corinthians 10:5 says that now we can make every thought captive and force it to be obedient to Christ! Philippians 4:8 tells us how to transform our mind. You can become an overcomer, it start in your Golgotha (your skull, your thinking). This victory comes straight from the Cross!
2. Battle in the church . When I consider that story in the garden of Gethsemane, I am reminded that each believer in Christ will have to face their own Gethsemane, a place where ONLY YOU can go, alone. Notice the three friends outside? They couldn’t proceed. They were asked to stay in prayer, but they couldn’t go with Him! We often try to drag our Christian friends in our personal Gethsemane, but they simply can’t enter it, they aren’t meant to. This is the place where only you and the Father look eye to eye and you speak, you be honest, you tell Him your deepest fears and He is there to comfort you! We can’t get mad at other believers for not entering our Gethsemane, they are to pray and wait. They too, have Gethsemane’s of their own where they will walk alone to meet with the Father, and they as well, depend on your prayers outside the garden. As I consider this particular battle ground, I think of Jesus telling Peter shortly before the betrayal, “Satan has asked to sift you, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail, but when you return, strengthen your brothers!” (Luke 22:32).
Read John 17 where Jesus prays for the believers to be united as He is united with the Father! His deepest prayer for the Christians is to stay and grow together! When we say, “I don’t have to go to church to be a Christian”, you are saying that His prayers in John 17 were untrue and invalid. People will fail us and we will fail them, but He died on the Cross for the Church to begin! Let’s stick to each other closer as an answer to His prayer! He has given us the victory on the Cross to overcome disunity and separation within the Church! The Cross united us! Hebrews 10:25 speaks of the importance of belonging to a church body. Fight FOR your Church, not WITH your church. PRAY for your fellow believers, not PREY ON THEM .
3. Battle with the principalities. Satan hates you. There is no other way of putting it. He hates the blood of Jesus that is on your life, he hates the victory you now have, he hates Jesus because Jesus overcame him. Ephesians 6:12 reminds us that our battles are not flesh and blood (remember this when you struggle with people!). Satan only uses people to get to us, consider the source! We do not fight with flesh and blood, friends, we must learn to be fully equipped. Back to those final chapters in the Gospel, it tells us that Jesus SANG HIS WAY to the Passover . Scared to death, He worshipped His way through the battles.
•WORSHIP must become one of our warfare tools. Worship moves Heaven and Earth. Worship pushes the enemy out of the way because our eyes are on our Chief General.
•PRAYER must be our faithful accompaniment of anything you do. Learn to follow the Holy Spirit and His guidance .
•SCRIPTURE is your offensive weapon! You can’t go through the war zone unequipped. Get your Sword out, get familiar with it, use it often, have it ready.
* FULL ARMOR. Know your enemy. I can tell you he knows you well, he knows exactly how to pierce your heart. Be fully dressed, be prepared!
This Easter, be reminded of the victory that is your’s now, because Jesus fought all three of those battles and He is victorious and this victory is now yours. The best news, you aren’t in this alone! He is right there with you. You are more than an overcomer through Christ!