Christ Defeats Pan
Part V - Christ Defeats Pan
The previous section showed how Christ defeated Satan and all his demons at Calvary.
However, Christ’s defeat of Satan, and by extension the concept of the pagan god of Pan, is not just some abstract theological concept. The Greek god Pan was the god of fear. His name and the word “panic” come from the same Greek word. This article shows how even today Christ continues to defeat fear and those demons who wish to put fear into our lives. This article also shows how Christ gave Peter a special role in achieving that.
Jesus says “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.” Luke 9:24. This is repeated in all four Gospels.
Yet, we all have a natural fear of dying to ourselves. To compound this problem modern Christianity has to deal with another problem. It can be very difficult in understanding how to interpret the Bible. Well intentioned and sincere Bible preachers disagree on how to interpret the Bible. For example, there are over 32,000 different denominations all claiming to follow the Bible Alone and they all contradict each other on what the Bible means. And so, I have to ask, how do I know that my own private interpretation of the Bible, or the one that I am following, is the correct interpretation ?
These two facts, Christ’s command and our natural indisposition not to die to ourselves, results in an unfortunate predicament. We all tend to have a strong subconscious tendency to justify our own sins that we are tempted to commit while condemning others who fall into those sins that we are not tempted to commit. And unfortunately, a person can find a Christian Church that teaches whatever he wants to hear. And so, how can we be sure that we are dying to ourselves to truly follow Christ ? Is it possible that I am justifying something that Christ wants me to reject, or vice versa ?
A Bible study on the following verse will show how Christ saves us from these real life issues.
Jesus promised “I will not leave you orphans” John 14:18.
It is essential to clarify what it means to be an orphan. Only in this way will we understand how it is that being a completely faithful Christian is to not be an orphan. Clarifying the meaning is best done by asking others to explain what the word “orphan” means to them. They will most often, and wrongly, state that it refers to a child who does not have a mother or father.
However, all orphans have a mother and a father. If they did not they would never have been born. Their fathers may be in heaven, purgatory, or hell, but they have fathers. An orphan is someone who cannot go to his father, and ask him questions, and hear an audible and definitive answer from him. The father may have left writings, but an orphan cannot go to him with specific questions for clarifications on what was written or left unwritten. The orphan cannot hear an audible, and infallible answer. He has to decide or answer such questions for himself.
Isaiah 9:6 indicates that the Messiah will be a father figure for us. Cf. Jn 14:9. And this prophet Isaiah in chapter 22 verse 21 tells us that the King's representative will also be a father figure to his people. Christ comes to us through His Church which has a hierarchical structure. See Separate Article. And Christ The King especially comes to us through his vicar, his representative, Saint Peter and his successors.
And the Christian community certainly needs a father figure to settle disputes. We need to die to ourselves on essential issues, but we need to know with certainty what those issues are.
Our inherent fear of dying to ourselves makes it practically impossible to die to self for just a “Maybe this is true,” or “Maybe that is true.” And many modern Christian communities have rejected the idea that a person could be infallible in interpreting and in stating what the Bible means. The consequence of these two facts have led many good meaning and sincere Bible preachers to justify or to allow one type of sin or another. And now many large congregations will not take a definitive position against the sins of abortion, homosexual activity, or adultery etc.
If we knew with certainty that stepping into a street to pick up a hundred dollar bill would result in our body being hit by a MACK truck, a 16 wheel semi, going at 70 miles per hour we would not be seriously tempted to do that. The certainty of what will happen makes the temptation to go into street easy to manage.
When we know with certainty that a certain path leads to heaven and that its opposite will ALWAYS lead to a suffering and punishment (and possibly damnation) that is always worse than any physical comforts that this sin might bring, then we are not tempted beyond the strength that God’s grace provides if we are sincere and faithful in following our Savior Jesus Christ.
Most people are not strong enough to overcome the fear of dying to oneself for a “maybe” that is a true teaching. Whereas, the certainty that comes with definitive teachings that are accepted on faith does strengthen a person to chose the right path.
When we know with the certainty of faith that Jesus Christ will keep His promise us to not leave us orphans, and when we trust in His promises to Peter, and when we persevere in hope that the power of the Holy Spirit who will effect those promises, and when we trust in the love of God the Father to fulfill Christ’s mission to give us a way of being able to have an infallibly certain way of defining which books belong in the Bible and what they mean, then with the grace and love of Jesus Christ working in our hearts we are empowered to die to ourselves so that we might live abundantly in Christ who alone is our salvation.
The word “Pope” comes from the word “papa” which means father. By refusing to accept how Jesus comes to us and Fathers us through the Pope a person in essence becomes his own Pope deciding for himself what is right and what is wrong. See separate article on The Fall. He can easily deceive himself by telling himself that he is following the Bible, when in actuality he is following his own private interpretation of the Bible. There is a real danger that he might satisfy his own conscience without dying to himself and following Christ completely.
Therefore, Jesus defeats Pan through Peter and the Papacy as His Church clearly defines what the true path to heaven is. With this certainty of truth revealed the fear of dying to ourselves is diminished and we can truly follow Christ instead of searching for a Church that justifies our own plan for happiness.
Jesus’s defeat of Satan is the fulfillment of the prophecy in Genesis 3:15 which recorded that the Messiah would crush the head of the Serpent. See Separate Article on Genesis 3:15
1 John 4:18
The location of Caesarea Philippi becomes especially relevant and revealing when see it in this fuller context. The Biblical text supports the inescapable parallels and that Jesus was comparing the huge rock there with Peter. It is only by being outside of the city and down below that a person would be able to see this rock. And so the reference in Matthew 16:13 that Christ was in the area instead of being inside the city makes the case for this analogy even stronger.
While this city pointed to the false gods of Caesar and the Pagan god of Pan, Jesus establishes His Church to point the world to the One True God. Just as this city was built on a distinctive massive wall of rock, Jesus pointed out that Simon was to become the real Rock. Jesus even changed his name to “Rock” [Kephas]. While Simon the man is weak and a sinner, he is changed into a Rock as Christ so declared, because the ROCK-ness of Christ works through him to strengthen his brethren. See Separate Article.
While Caesarea Philippi was built upon this wall of rock to honor the false god of shepherds, Jesus builds His Church upon Peter, to point to and to honor the Truly Good Shepherd. Satan holds people in bondage and leads people to sin through fear. The grace that Jesus won for us enables us to have with infallible certainty the knowledge of His will and the courage to die to our selfish desires so that we might live in Christ.
Jesus gives Peter the Keys and by so doing designating him and his successors as the visible earthly head of His Church and to lead people into salvation after Christ ascended into heaven. On Calvary Jesus won the grace for us so that we might be able to die to our sinful ways which are a rejection of Him. Jesus won this grace for us when He defeated Satan at Golgotha and crushed his head as was prophesied in Genesis 3:15.
While the world Christian denominations are in great disunity, the Holy Spirit works through the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome, our Holy Father, so that we might have infallible certainty as to the correct path to heaven. It is Christ working through Peter that preserves the unity that Christ prayed for and obtained for us so that His Church would be faithful in her teachings and would be a visible sign of that unity to the whole world that Jesus Christ is our only Savior.