Samson and the Lion

We have a God who fights on our behalf and who breathes the Holy Spirit upon us if we ask. By Justin and Courtney Rose

John 20 shows us that, after the crucifixion of Jesus, the disciples hide together in a locked room. They were afraid of what the Jewish leaders might do to them since they were followers of Jesus, and they were afraid of the future. But on the day after the Resurrection, Jesus appears before the disciples, showing them His hands and feet so that they knew it was truly Him. Then He does something strange by breathing on them and saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (verse 22).   

Jesus had already spoken quite a bit about the Holy Spirit. Luke 11:13 says that God will “give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.” John 14:26 says that the Holy Spirit will be our Teacher and Advocate. A few short weeks after this event, Jesus says to His disciples that they will “receive power when the Holy Spirit comes” on them (Acts 1:8). 

It is important for us to remember, though, that the Holy Spirit was not new. Jesus’s act of breathing on them may have been a surprise, but the concept of the Holy Spirit wouldn’t have been. God has been and always will be Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God hovered above the waters before creation, an artist named Bezalel was filled with the Spirit of God in order to create the furnishings for the Tent of Meeting, the Spirit of God spoke through King David and the list of the Holy Spirit’s work in Scripture goes on and on. The power of God has been shown in the people of God through the Spirit of God throughout history. 

One example, often overlooked, comes from the story of Samson. We are told that Samson is walking towards the village of his future wife when a young lion comes out and attacks him. The Spirit of the Lord comes on him and he tears the lion apart with his bare hands! Not only was he strong enough to defeat the lion, but he was strong enough to tear it limb from limb. What a grotesque scene! 

When Samson is attacked, he is in a vineyard, alone and vulnerable. But he is able to defeat the lion. He does not defeat the lion by running away, since the lion is much faster and swifter. He does not defeat the lion by using manmade weapons, since he was unarmed. He does not defeat the lion with his wits, since the lion had him cornered and alone. He does not even defeat the lion with his own strength, but rather through the Spirit of the Lord that came powerfully upon him. Samson is not strong in his own might; he is supernaturally strong because the Spirit of God is working in him.

In 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV), the Apostle Peter warns his readers to be “alert and of sober mind” because there is another lion prowling around. This lion roams around, looking for someone to devour, just like the lion that came upon Samson when he was alone in the wilderness. According to Peter, this lion is our enemy, the devil.

If this prowling lion finds us alone and “among the vineyards,” where is our strength? Not in our speed, weapons, intellect or personal strength that we are able to overcome, but rather in the Spirit of God. Even in times when we are like the disciples, locked away in fear of the future, the Spirit of God can be the comfort we need to step out and face the world. It is through the Spirit that we can overcome. We have a God who fights on our behalf and who breathes the Holy Spirit upon us if we ask. 

  • April 1:  John 20:19-23
  • April 2:  Luke 11:9-13
  • April 3:  John 14:15-21
  • April 4:  John 14:25-27
  • April 5:  John 15:26-27
  • April 6:  John 16:12-15
  • April 7:  Acts 1:1-11
  • April 8:  Acts 2:1-13
  • April 9:  Genesis 1:1-2
  • April 10:  Exodus 31:1-11
  • April 11:  2 Samuel 23:1-7
  • April 12:  Judges 14:5-6
  • April 13:  Judges 14:8-20
  • April 14:  Judges 15:3-15
  • April 15:  Judges 16:25-30
  • April 16:  1 Peter 5:6-9
  • April 17:  Matthew 4:1-11
  • April 18:  2 Corinthians 3:12-18
  • April 19:  Romans 15:13
  • April 20:  1 Corinthians 6:19-20
  • April 21:  Romans 5:1-5
  • April 22:  Matthew 28:16-20
  • April 23:  Acts 4:31
  • April 24:  Genesis 41:37-40
  • April 25:  Numbers 24:1-14
  • April 26:  1 Samuel 10:9-11
  • April 27:  1 Samuel 19:18-24
  • April 28:  Jude 1:17-21
  • April 29:  Ephesians 1:11-14
  • April 30:  John 7:37-3

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