TODAY’S READING: PSALMS 141-150
“But my eyes are toward you, O God, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless! Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me and from the snare of the evildoers! Let the wicked fall into their own nets, while I pass safely by.” – Psalm 141:8-10
Many of the psalms have similar words to the above three verses. And, I believe, in some way, all the psalms speak of Jesus.
So, if Jesus was crucified, then how was the Lord his refuge? How was Jesus not left defenseless? How was Jesus kept from the trap that his enemies laid? How was he kept from the snare of the evildoers? How did Jesus pass safely by?
First, we must understand that Jesus did not come to rule and reign like the kings of the earth. Instead Jesus came to reveal exactly who God is to us.
Colossians 1:15 says, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.”
2 Corinthians 4:4 says, “Christ, who is the image of God.”
Hebrews 1:3 says, “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature.”
As the image of God, which we were all created to be and Jesus came to restore us to, Jesus had to fully and completely display that in his every deed and word without sin. Otherwise, he would not have been “the image of God.”
1 Peter 2:22 says, “He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.”
1 John 3:5 says, “You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.”
So, Jesus was without sin. But, as the image of God, the exact imprint of God’s nature, what did Jesus reveal?
1 John 1:5 says, “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”
1 John 4:8-10, 18 says, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins…There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”
1 John 5:11-12 says, “And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
Therefore, as the image of God, Jesus came to reveal:
- God is light and not darkness
- God is love and not fear
- God is life and death
Given that this was what Jesus came to reveal as the image of God, then the trap and the snare of evildoers was to get Jesus to deviate from the image of God. The trap and the snare of evildoers was to get Jesus to act not in love, which never seeks its own (1 Corinthians 13:5), but to act in his own self-interest.
This was the exactly how Satan tempted him in the wilderness in Matthew 4. In verse 3, Satan said to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” Jesus had just fasted for 40 days and was hungry. Satan wanted Jesus to act in his own self-interest and not love, thereby denying the image of God that he came to reveal.
In verse 5, Satan again taunted Jesus, saying, “If you are the Son of God…” Again, Satan wanted to get Jesus to act in his own self-interest and do something that would prove he is God.
Then, in verses 8-10, Satan gave Jesus the opportunity to have all the kingdoms of the world without going to the cross, if only he would worship Satan. But, this would have been the ultimate denial of image of God for Jesus, since the image of God is only to worship the Lord God.
The trap and the snare of the evildoers, of Satan, was for Jesus to act contrary to the image of God, denying the nature of who God is.
And, this is just what Satan tried to get Jesus to do on the cross.
Matthew 27:39-42 says, “And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, ‘You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, ‘He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.'”
The gospel of Mark records similar words spoke to Jesus on the cross.
But, if Jesus took himself down from the cross, then he would have denied the love of God, for the cross is how we know the love of God. The cross, that God is willing to die for us instead of killing us, is the ultimate display of God’s love.
Satan though that he could trap and snare Jesus to act in his own self-interest and not love by putting all the violence the world could dish out for all time on Jesus at that one moment on the cross. This is what it means that Jesus bore the sins of the world.
But, even though he had the power to do so, Jesus did not take himself down from the cross. Jesus did not act in his own self-interest. Instead, Jesus stayed trued to the image of God. Even on the cross, Jesus held to revealing that God is light, love, and life.
Jesus was able to do this because God was his refuge. Because God did not leave him defenseless. Because God kept from the trap and snare of the evildoers. Indeed, Jesus did safely pass by as rose from the dead three days later.
Jesus revealed having the Lord as your refuge and being kept from the snares and traps of Satan and this world do not mean that nothing bad ever happens. But, Jesus showed that having the Lord as your refuge and being kept from the temptations of Satan is about maintaining the image of God, to testify that God is light, love, and life, to worship the true and living and God and not idols.