The Expository Files.

"The Prince Of This World Cometh: And He Hath Nothing In Me"

John 14:30 


At the conclusion of the Lord's farewell discourse, prior to their arising from the final Supper together, Jesus addressed some significant personal remarks to his intimate disciples. Among them were several thoughts regarding the upcoming spiritual challenge facing him that night. One particular reflection ought to stir our thoughts to careful deliberation:

Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me (John 14:30).

It is apparent both because of the special occasion represented by the context of these words, and on account of the deep spiritual heaviness of the Lord's heart, and thus the passion of his sentiments, that profound insights lie buried in this simple verse. A number of things should come to our own minds as we consider what the Lord said, and the implications of what he said, on this momentous occasion. Please consider the following:

1. The Prince Of This World Is Coming Into Every Life.
The ordeal which Jesus faced in the three great temptations by Satan, recorded in Matthew 4: lff. and the other Gospel parallels, surely represented only one incident in the thirty-three years or so of his own life. Luke ends his record of the incident with this remark: "And when the devil had completed every temptation, he departed from him for a season" (Luke 4:13). The Lord faced other temptations than those represented in this direct confrontation with the Enemy. Some translators render the phrase "for a season" as "until an opportune time." There could scarcely have been a more favorable moment for pressure than when Jesus was confronted with the final issues of his life. The betrayal by Judas, the frustration of human hopes, the disappointment of apparent failure, the rejection of his people, the agony of death. Taken together, these would make him especially susceptible to suggestion or temptation. Moreover, on the final night before his trial and execution, the Savior recognized in the events of that night and the following day the unwelcome "coming" of the "prince of this world" into his life to tempt him and to test his resolve in serving the will of his Father.

2. The Prince Of This World Is Coming To Test Us.
If the precious Lamb of God was forced to deal with this interference in his life and work and the inconveniences and disturbances which would follow, then we must surely know that this represents a circumstance that is somehow indispensable to the human condition. If Satan appeared in Jesus' life, he will assuredly come into ours also. And, if it led to unhappy moments for him, it will for us too. Paul's "thorn in the flesh" was a reminder of this unpleasant reality (2 Cor. 12:7); he described it as "a messenger of Satan." Peter viewed the persecutions of early Christians as a "fiery trial" which had come upon them to prove them (1 Pet. 4:12), and later in his letter warned, "Be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour, whom withstand steadfast in your faith, knowing that the same sufferings are accomplished in your brethren who are in the world" (1 Peter 5:8-9).

3. The Prince Of This World Had Nothing In Jesus.
"He hath nothing in me," Jesus said. That is, he had no hold upon Christ. Have you ever attempted to pick up a large object which had no convenient handles or grasping places on it? Not that it was too heavy for you; it simply did not come supplied with "hand holds" on it. Such an article is difficult if not impossible to move without more hands than one person has. This is the force of what the Lord said about Satan coming into his life. Jesus had done the necessary self-examination and found that there were no convenient grasping places for Satan. His loyalty was completely undivided. He had no personal affection for this world. His physical family was secondary to his loyalty to God. Heaven was more important than earth. The kingdom of God was esteemed by him as of more importance than any carnal pursuit. Life with God was better than life on earth. Earthly pleasure and worldly joy were relegated to negligible status. Satan could find no serviceable "hand holds" on him!

4. Does The Prince Of This World Have Anything In You?
While Satan could find no grabbing places on Jesus, he can often find many and very convenient ones upon us. This is so because we have provided them for him. Our loyalties are frequently divided. We are not sure about what is most important to us. We love this present evil world, but we want to go to heaven. We are willing to surrender our convictions when they are challenged by our family or friends. We permit affection for family and friends to account for much more than it should. The kingdom of God is important to us, but not so much as to require sacrifice of our time or money. Earthly convenience and pleasure rate very high on our list of priorities, and worldly status, money and the things that it can buy, are influential in far too many of the decisions we make. We provide Satan with plenty of accessible "hand holds" where he can very conveniently grab us. And grab us he does!

5. Jesus Was Ready For The Coming Of Satan, And We May Also Be Ready.
Peter said, "Be sober, be watchful..." (1 Pet. 5:8). The Lord was prepared for Satan's arrival because he knew he was coming and did the proper self-examination to know his own state of preparedness for the fight. Each of us must do the same thing, and make the necessary adjustments for the inevitable arrival of the Adversary in our lives and the tests that he may put us through. If we will do this, then we shall also be able to say, "He has nothing in me..."

{Scanned from THE PRECEPTOR, December, 1995}

 By Daniel H. King, Sr. 
 From Expository Files 3.7; July 1996