Beware

Read 1 John 4:1-6

In Star Wars Episodes 5 and 6, Luke receives his training to be a Jedi from the most famous and powerful of all the Jedi: Yoda.

It could be argued that perhaps the most important part of the training is not some trick with the light saber, nor is it some special knowledge of the force.  The most important thing that Yoda tells Luke is that the dark side of the force is not stronger then the force that Luke has; but that Luke needs to beware of the dark side, especially the Emperor.  Right before he dies, Yoda tells Luke ‘Do not underestimate the power of the Emperor.’

Yoda tells him this because it could be argued that in Episode 3, when Yoda attempts to destroy the Emperor, he fails because he does underestimate the power of the Emperor.  The Jedi have been blindsided by the Anakin’s turn to the dark side, and the ensuing killing of so many of their fellow Jedi, and the discovery that the Emperor is a Sith Lord; and yet when Yoda goes to fight the Emperor, he still underestimates his power.

As I read 1 John 4:1-6, I cannot help but hearing the same words being spoken by St. John.  St. John tells the faithful to whom he writes this Epistle that the power of God is far stronger than any power of the devil; he tells them of the victory they have in Christ Jesus; and he tells them that the powers of this world cannot overcome them.

But you can also hear a word of warning.  The power of God does far exceed any power of the devil, but beware of the devil.  The devil is nothing to shrug off; he is a powerful force that challenges the baptized daily to turn away from God.

St. John knows all too well the power of the devil to cause people to turn their backs on Jesus.  St. John was one of the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane who ran away when Jesus was arrested; he saw Peter betray Jesus three times; he saw Judas betray Jesus; he stood at the cross and saw Jesus die, and he saw numerous, who at one point may have very well claimed to be followers of Jesus, mock Him, call for Him to be crucified, and reject Him.

St. John tells all those who believe in Jesus that Jesus has overcome sin, death and the devil; He tells all who believe that through the waters of Holy Baptism, they know have the promise of eternal life.

But there is also the warning: Beware of Satan; do not underestimate his powers.  Because if you do underestimate the power of the devil, you will be destroyed.

About revschmidt

An LCMS Pastor in North-Central Kansas
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