by Travis Bryan III
O Death, where is thy sting? 1 Cor 15:55.
At the cross, Jesus drew the sting of both the law of Moses (John 19:7) and the evil principalities and powers (Col 2:14-15).
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances (Moses’ Law) that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross; and spoiling (stripping) principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it (in the cross). Col 2:14-15.
On our behalf at the cross, Jesus absorbed the curse of the law and He redeemed us from it. Gal 3:10-13. There, He also defeated Satan and his evil fallen angels, the principalities and powers. Col 2:14-15. If they had known what they were doing, causing their own defeat, they would never have crucified the Lord of glory. 1 Cor 2:6-9.
When a honeybee stings it deposits in its victim part of its digestive tract, muscles and nerves. The bee dies shortly thereafter. It dies as a direct result of its own sting. This is an illustration of a major principle of the cross. At Calvary, Jesus drew the sting of the principalities and powers. Their own power was destroyed as a result of their own assault. It was “through death (Jesus’ death) that he (Jesus) destroyed him who had the power of death, that is the devil.” Heb 2:14. When Satan and his principalities and powers struck Jesus, bound Him to the cross and killed Him, they, not Jesus, were the ones destroyed.
At the cross, Jesus set up the supreme illustration of the only way God or we can ever conquer evil. We kill evil by death, our own dying to self. We defeat evil, as He did, with the self-sacrificial love of the cross. We destroy our opposition by absorbing their blows, by turning the other cheek, never by retaliation. We overcome evil with good. Rom 12:21; Matt 5:38-48.
It is by a faith presenting of your body as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1) that we love our enemies, allow evil to strike us and, turning the other cheek, allow evil to self-destruct. We kill evil with kindness. Kindness is self-sacrificial love. Kindness is how God destroyed His enemies at the cross. It must be the same for us as we take up His cross daily in acts of kindness toward our enemies. Luke 9:23-24.
When we refuse to retaliate with violence of tongue, gun or fist, our evil attacker may be caused to be convicted of his own evil act. He may finally come to a place of repentance and humility. He may cry out to God for salvation from himself. Love, not violence, is the strongest force against evil in the universe. “Love is as strong as death.” Song of Solomon 8:6. Love is death, the self-sacrificial death of Christ. Love is death, our dying to self.
Martin Luther King Jr preached this message of nonviolent self-sacrificial love. He said, “They (the powers that be) know what to do with violence. They will call out the militia or the National Guard and beat, kill or incarcerate hundreds of innocent people. But they do not know what to do with peaceful resistance and non-violent love.” King’s message, the gospel of Christ, caused the transformation of an entire nation. This same message, taught to Jackie Robinson in 1946-47 by Branch Rickey, transformed all of major league baseball.
Loving an enemy is the only way to destroy the evil in him. Retaliation, fighting fire with fire, will always only perpetuate the sin and the violence. It never should be an eye for eye response. It is always loving your enemies. When your enemy is hungry, feed him. When he is thirsty, give him a drink. Rom 12:17-21. In so doing you will heep his own burning coals of wrath and anger back upon his own head. Ps 5:10; 7:15-16; 9:15-16; 10:2. Love in the face of evil allows evil to self-destruct. Only love will do it! Love converts. Love transforms.
Jesus allowed evil to strike Him at Calvary. Evil was like the honeybee. It died because of its own sting. O death, where is thy sting. O grave where is thy victory. 1 Cor 15:55.
Walk out into the world today, draw the sting of evil and, in so doing, destroy it!