Then Samson called to the Lord and said, “O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.”
The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”
Samson brings the time of the Judges to a close. His life mirrors the moral condition of the people he judged…corrupt. We do see a glimmer of faith in Samson’s life – but only after he has been blinded and humiliated…
God stooped and granted Samson the strength to topple the house and kill 3,000 Philistines, and in so doing, he also killed himself. But even Samson’s sacrifice was tainted, as it seemed to be motivated by vengeance instead of concern for Israel.
Today’s passage from Luke highlights one of the fundamental differences between the Old and New Testaments. In the Old Testament, God set apart a physical nation whose purpose was to reveal God’s character to the world. The New Testament begins with John the Baptist exhorting the Jews to repent “for the Kingdom of God is near.”
John was preparing the way for Jesus. And when Jesus came, he instituted a spiritual nation, which he called “The Kingdom of God.” Unlike the Israelites, the people of God’s Kingdom do not go to war against other nations – rather they engage in battle in the spiritual realm.
God empowered Samson with physical strength to defeat the Philistines, his physical enemies. In today’s passage from Luke, Jesus empowers the 72 with spiritual strength to overcome their spiritual enemies.
We, as believers in Christ, are part of God’s Kingdom and are commanded to enter the spiritual battle – proclaiming that “The Kingdom of God is near!” If God can empower and use the likes of Samson, He can surely use you and me!