Jesus challenges us to be awake and able-bodied. Jesus knows that unless Satan ties us up first, our possessions can’t be stolen. Jesus, however, has tied up the strong man.
God’s goal for us is to have eternal life now. It is a gift to us through His son Jesus. It is our possession. We own it in Him.
Satan wants to steal it from us. The evil one’s goal is to tie us up.
God is in a good mood and gives us all the tools we need to withstand the attack. Now that is some good news.
And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.
English Standard Version. (2016). (Mark 3:23–30). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
This parable is an allegory. The strong one is Satan. This story is about Jesus. Jesus has tied up the strong man. Now that is good news.
- His house is his domain, the present world, which he seeks to hold secure.
- His vessels are those hapless victims whom he has taken captive.
- The stronger one is Jesus, who has come from God, invaded Satan’s stronghold, and bound him.
The undeniable fact that Jesus has performed exorcisms proves three things:
- Satan’s rule is coming to an end.
- It’s not coming to an end because Jesus is casting out demons by Satan.
- It’s coming to an end because as Satan’s antagonist, Jesus is stronger than Satan just as he’s stronger than the Baptist.
The allegory prompts us to remember the prologue, where John announced that one who was more powerful than he would come. It turns out that he is also stronger than Satan. Mark did not describe in full detail the temptation in the desert, but clearly Jesus must have bound the strong man for him to be able to plunder his house now.
The parable prompts one schooled in Scripture to remember the promise in Isaiah 49:24–25, that God himself will overcome the mighty one:
Can plunder be taken from warriors,
or captives rescued from the fierce?
But this is what the LORD says:
“Yes, captives will be taken from warriors,
and plunder retrieved from the fierce;
I will contend with those who contend with you,
and your children I will save.
With the advent of the kingdom of God, the battle is being waged not just against the petty tyrants and their domains but against the kingdom of Satan, which has enslaved all humanity. Our King Jesus is victorious.
Faith at Work: At work will we be confronted by evil. Satan wants to destroy our joy in our work. We must remember that Jesus has won the victory. Jesus has tied up the strong man.