Have you ever wondered how Jesus was able to sidestep the booby traps that were set for Him? What kept Him from being drawn and lured into Satan’s snares?
Religious leaders frequently ambushed Jesus with an onslaught of hostile questions, yet He skillfully dodged each one. No matter what others did He remained in complete control of every situation.
If we could identify the secrets that kept Jesus from getting ensnared in the traps set for Him, then we could apply those principles and sidestep the traps set for us. One thing is certain: Jesus never allowed human opinion to affect Him. Proverbs 29:25 warns, “Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but to trust the Lord means safety.” I like the way The Message states it: “The fear of human opinion disables.”
If fear disables, then fearlessness must enable. We see this principle continually operating in Jesus’ life. Human opinion didn’t affect Him at all. Again, speaking to powerful leaders, He said, “Your approval or disapproval means nothing to me…” (John 5:41 NLT). That’s fearlessness!
Because Jesus was mindful of the spiritual climate and culture of this present world, He was able to look beyond human actions or opinions and identify their source. In other words, He followed the fruit to the root.
Jesus understood that although people harassed and attacked Him, they were not His enemy. He dealt with the root: the kingdom of darkness. Jesus knew full well that He was in a spiritual battle against spiritual opponents. He recognized the evil author and its kingdom that was behind each attack. Aware of this unseen conflict with the powers of darkness, Jesus never retaliated when people attacked or insulted Him. He understood that the enemy often used people as bait to ensnare Him.
“Fighting fruit” is a waste of time, yet too often we spend all our time trying to deal with problems at this level. But if we want to permanently affect fruit, such as opposition, criticism, or personal attacks through other people, we must follow Jesus’ example and deal with the root.
This knowledge equipped Jesus to sidestep every trap the enemy set for Him. And His life wasn’t trouble-free as many suppose. Jesus was despised and rejected, a man of sorrow and familiar with grief (see Isaiah 53:3). He faced angry mobs, accusations from powerful leaders, beatings, and ultimately crucifixion. Yet He never defended Himself or retaliated against people. Consequently, when His life was over, Jesus could honestly say that the prince of this world had no claim on Him (see John 14:30).
Jesus had to navigate through dangerous, mine-infested waters in order to avoid Satan’s booby traps. An example of one of these traps set for Jesus is found in Matthew 22:15: “Then the Pharisees met together to think of a way to trap Jesus into saying something for which they could accuse him.”
Although the Pharisees were responsible for setting a trap for Jesus, Satan was the mastermind behind the strategy. The Pharisees were merely Satan’s pawns used to get Jesus to say something contrary to God’s Word, and then the devil could accuse Him. He will use the same strategy on us unless we recognize he is behind the attacks and insults.