Not too long ago, we spent an afternoon at the Crossman's for a birthday party. Joe George, Bill, Kevin, and myself were talking about the challenges of prison ministry on the back patio. Joe kept staring down at the glass table as if there were something going on in the glass. He stopped and said, "I'm just noticing this spider trying to get that bug." We stepped over to the table, and sure enough, there was a very small bug crawling around on that clear table top. Underneath the bug was a spider. However, the spider was on the bottom side of the table and could not get to the bug because of the glass. Every time the bug would move, the spider would move with it. That spider followed that bug all over the table but could not get to the bug. It is a good thing that the bug was not on the edge of the table, he could have went over the edge and the spider would have attacked him. This amusing incident reminds me of two lessons.
First of all, the glass protected the bug. The glass did not prevent the bug and spider from seeing each other, but it did prevent the spider from getting to the bug. Toward the end of his ministry, Jesus said, "Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out (John 12:31)." Jesus did something to Satan when he went to the cross. John describes it in cosmic terms:
"...And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, ... and his angels were thrown down with him. Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come ... And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb ...(Rev 12:9-11)."
So Satan has been cast out by the blood of the lamb. Satan cannot hurt God's people. There is a wall of glass between him and us that he cannot cross.
However, the Bible also says, "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour 1 Pet 5:8)."
So the second lesson is that even though Satan has been cast out, there is still a level of danger. Even though Satan is cast out, he is still a lion. It is no different than seeing a lion at the zoo. Even though there is a separation between us and the lion, if you cross over, he will eat you alive. We need to stay on the center of the path. The minute we start wandering over to the edge of the glass, we may wind up getting nabbed in his fangs and poisoned by his venom.
Satan cannot harm us, but there is a condition to this according to Peter:
"For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, And His ears attend to their prayer, But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good (1 Pet 3:12-13)?"