Thursday, July 17, 2014
The exposure of evil
Why did the devil attack Jesus, knowing that Jesus was without sin? The devil could not possibly have been victorious. Why did the devil, through Judas, hand Jesus over to be crucified? The death of Christ on the cross could not possibly have served the devil’s purpose, except to give the devil pleasure in seeing Christ suffer. Nor could God have ordered the devil to attack and betray Jesus; the fulfillment of God’s plan cannot belong to the devil, but must belong to God alone. In truth the whole matter worked the other way round. By attacking and betraying a person so manifestly good and holy as Christ, the devil exposed himself; the devil revealed himself as evil. This may sound strange; surely we know evil for what it is, without such a terrible exposure. On the contrary, the problem of evil is that it is usually disguised as goodness. Think of Judas. Throughout the early ministry of Jesus, Judas was a most loyal and passionate disciple. And he willingly went out with the others to proclaim the Gospel and heal the sick. Yet all the while, evil thoughts were seething in his heart; the lust for power and wealth burned within him. So when the opportunity arose to destroy Jesus, he seized it. Judas shows us how evil operates in the world; that is why God allowed evil to be exposed—by allowing Jesus to die on the cross.